top of page

Jaguars Worst 1st Round Picks

In just a few days, the Jacksonville Jaguars are poised to draft Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. This will be the first time that the franchise has selected at this position, and hopefully for many Jaguars fans, will be the last time, as head coach Urban Meyer and the organization starts the most important draft in franchise history. The team has had 26 drafts, and as the team embarks on the 27th opportunity to bring in a new class of Jaguars players, I’ve had some thoughts about the best and worst draft picks made by this franchise. No team is perfect with their draft picks, as it is a crapshoot, but it is something that can help shape the team for years to come.

I went back and looked at every draft since the team’s first draft in 1995, and came across the best selections from each round, but also the worst. Prepare yourselves, Jaguars fans, it isn’t going to be pretty. Without further ado… Let’s continue with the worst 1st round picks in franchise history

10. Leonard Fournette (2017 NFL Draft, Round 1, Pick 4)

If you know me you know that I was not a fan of selecting Leonard Fournette with the number 4 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. In fact, I wanted to take Deshaun Watson at 4 and draft a running back later in the draft (i.e.: Dalvin Cook in the 2nd round). Regardless, the Jaguars drafted Fournette and they had immediate success with him. He was the team’s most valuable offensive player during their AFC Championship game run in 2017. However, Fournette was a player who ran into some issues with former Executive Vice President Tom Coughlin, and the relationship between him and the franchise turned sour. Fournette had success here in Jacksonville, but unfortunately lands on this list for two reasons. First, he was selected over two franchise quarterbacks (Watson and Patrick Mahomes). Second, he was drafted over many running backs that actually proved to be better than him, and also all landed second contracts with the teams that drafted them (Christian McCaffrey, Dalvin Cook, Joe Mixon, Alvin Kamara, Aaron Jones).

9. Blake Bortles (2014 NFL Draft, Round 1, Pick 3)

The Jaguars were desperate for a franchise quarterback. It was a new regime getting their first real crack at it. It was general manager David Caldwell and head coach Gus Bradley’s second draft as leaders of the organization. Well, much like their first draft (I’ll get to that selection later), it was a swing and a miss. Blake Bortles had some moments as a Jaguar, but the level of inconsistency and incompetence displayed on the field made him a lock for this list. He was the quarterback of the team that went to the AFC Championship in 2017, but that should have been his last game in Jacksonville. Bortles was wildly erratic and had some bone headed throws that led to interceptions that I didn’t think were possible (throwing an interception off the shoe of a running back). Sure, Bortles is 2nd in franchise history in a lot of statistical categories, but that is because he had some great talent around him. He unfortunately did not have the talent to be the franchise quarterback that Jaguars fans have been yearning for.

The Boat in all his glory.

8. Dante Fowler Jr. (2015 NFL Draft, Round 1, Pick 3)

Back to back years with the number 3 overall pick, back to back years of drafting busts. The Jaguars wanted to address the defensive line by drafting the defensive end/outside linebacker Dante Fowler Jr, from the University of Florida. Fowler played solid at times but also had moments where he really made you mad. Fowler stepped up during the playoff run in 2017 where he was tied for 3rd on the team with sacks. However, that was the only season of production for Fowler as a member of the Jaguars. He never had a double digit sack season during his time in Jacksonville, and unfortunately that lands him on this list of worst 1st round picks.

7. Matt Jones (2005 NFL Draft, Round 1, Pick 21)

What list would it be if I didn’t include the Jaguars gaffe of selecting a college quarterback to play wide receiver in the NFL? It gets better! Jones was never a full time receiver at any point in his career. This was a disastrous decision by the organization. Jones was a below average receiver during his time in Jacksonville. His best season came in 2008 when he had 761 yards receiving on 65 catches, but that season ended quickly for him as he was suspended by the NFL for substance abuse. He never played a regular season NFL game after the suspension.

6. Luke Joeckel (2013 NFL Draft, Round 1, Pick 2)

This was David Caldwell and Gus Bradley’s first draft together as the new “brain-trust” of the organization. They were given a rough situation but the future was bright with the number 2 overall pick to start the rebuild. Well, the 2013 Draft class as a whole was pretty terrible, and it starts at who the Jaguars selected. Luke Joeckel was regarded as the 2nd best left tackle, behind Eric Fisher, who went number 1 to the Chiefs. Joeckel was an absolute disaster for Jacksonville and it didn’t get better as the team continued to support him, even though fans knew he was absolute trash. Joeckel played only 4 years here in Jacksonville and was not resigned. He played one more year after not being resigned by Jacksonville, and has not played since 2017. The rest of the league knew he stunk, so he definitely earned a spot here. He just misses the top 5 draft busts though in Jaguars history.

5. Taven Bryan (2018 NFL Draft, Round 1, pick 29)

Another draft, another bust from the University of Florida on the defensive side of the ball. This was the first year in a decade that the Jaguars were not selecting in the top 10 of an NFL draft. It was off the heels of the 2017 AFC Championship game run, and many Jaguars fans were wondering what was needed to take the next step of making a Super Bowl run. There were questions about the quarterback position, even after giving Bortles that extension; thus, taking a quarterback was a possibility at 29. Lamar Jackson was available. instead, the Jaguars decided to get a defensive tackle to help the future instead of winning now. The selection was met with a lot of criticism but people were willing to wait and see. Well, here we are. 3 years later, and Jaguars fans are ready to cut ties with Bryan because Bryan has been an absolute non-factor. He has only started in 17 games and has only had 3.5 sacks in 3 years. His time in Jacksonville should come to an end later this August. Disastrous pick.

The Mayor...and a bum.

4. Justin Blackmon (2012 NFL Draft, Round 1, Pick 5)

The Jaguars were in desperate need for a receiver to help their young quarterback (who is on this list later). The Jaguars traded up with Tampa Bay in 2012 to select Justin Blackmon. At the time of the selection, it was pure jubilation. I, along with many Jaguars fans, were ecstatic that we got the proclaimed best receiver in the draft that year. Blackmon was an absolute stud at Oklahoma State. However, it was not jubilation that Jaguars fans were expressing 2 months after the draft. Blackmon got arrested for driving under the influence one night in Stillwater, and that was just the beginning of his troubles. Blackmon came back to the team and played in all 16 games his rookie year and finished 2nd on the team in receiving yards. Then Blackmon got hit with a suspension for substance abuse, and it started the downward spiral for Blackmon and his career in the NFL. He played a few more games for the team, but then got suspended again and has not played a down in the NFL since 2013. This was a shame as Blackmon could have been one of the best receivers in the NFL, but alcohol consumed his life.

3. R. Jay Soward (2000 NFL Draft, Round 1, Pick 29)

Pick 29 must be a curse for the organization as not only was Bryan a bust at this selection, so was R. Jay Soward. Soward was drafted right after the team had their best season in franchise history. Soward only played 13 games during his rookie season and he struggled mightily. Even with a terrible rookie season, that wasn’t the worst part about his career. He was suspended by the NFL and by the team multiple times in his first few years for substance abuse.

2. Derrick Harvey (2008 NFL Draft, Round 1, Pick 8)

The Jaguars were coming off a good season in 2007, where they almost defeated the historic Patriots, who ended up going 18-1, losing in the Super Bowl to the Giants. They believed they were a pass rusher away from making that next step. They went all in by trading up in the first round to select Derrick Harvey. To trade up, they traded 4 picks to move from pick 26 to pick 8, which is a costly move if it doesn’t work out. Well, it didn’t. Harvey was the first of multiple Gator defensive players that did not work out in Jacksonville. Harvey played 3 seasons in Jacksonville and only had 8 sacks in his career. That is not production needed/expected from a player the team traded up to get. The organization had high hopes for him, but selecting Harvey set the franchise back.

1. Blaine Gabbert (2011 NFL Draft, Round 1, Pick 10)

The Jaguars needed a franchise quarterback in 2011. They had David Garrard, who was a serviceable quarterback, but was not a quarterback who would take the franchise to another level. The Jaguars were in a position where it may have been difficult to select a quarterback in the draft. They were at the 16th spot. They, in turn, made a draft day trade to move up to the number 10 overall spot and selected Gabbert. In fairness to Gabbert, he wasn’t expected to start immediately. Then, head coach Jack Del Rio released David Garrard in the preseason. Luke McCown came in for 2 games, then Gabbert came in. Gabbert was a disaster his rookie year, which led to Del Rio being fired. Gabbert stayed the quarterback for the franchise until 2014, when the organization led by Caldwell traded Gabbert for a 6th round pick. Gabbert was an absolute disaster as quarterback for the franchise as he only won 5 games. He also threw more interceptions than touchdowns. It can be debated, but it would be hard to make a case against a quarterback who only won 5 games, who was thought to be the franchise savior at the time.

An interception was about to be thrown.

Part 3 of this 5 part series - the best 2nd & 3rd round draft picks - drops Monday, 4/26. Is Mike’s list accurate? What would you change? Tweet at us (@dimesonduval) or find us on Facebook or Instagram and drop your thoughts!

42 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page