With the injury to Dante Fowler Jr., I thought I’d make up a list of some of Jacksonville’s first round pick setbacks. Instead of doing them in a numerical order, I will just do them by random.
Matt Jones: Drafted number 21 in the first round of the 2005 draft: Matt Jones was a dual threat QB at Arkansas and the Jags took a risk on drafting him in the first round, but would eventually convert him to a receiver…it never really worked out as he never fully learned the position. Jones would later be arrested for drug charges and violate probation, which lead to his release after the 2009 season. Cincinnati tried to make use of him, but was later cut in 2010.
Blaine Gabbert: Drafted number 10 overall in the first round of the 2011 draft: Blaine Gabbert was supposed to be Jacksonville’s answer to a new franchise QB, but ended up being a complete bust. As a starter, the former Missouri star went 5-22 while averaging only 5.6 yards a pass. After 3 seasons, the Jags had enough and traded Gabbert to the 49ers for a 6th round pick
Justin Blackmon: Drafted number 5 overall in the first round of the 2012 draft: This former Oklahoma State Star definitely finds himself on the list, but let alone still on the roster. Blackmon is known for having a DUI weeks into his NFL career, but that must have been a sign of things to come in the near future; Blackmon was suspended indefinitely in November of 2013 for a second violation of the NFL substance abuse policy. Blackmon hasn’t played since and when the roster has to be trimmed this season, don’t be surprised if he is not on it.
Luke Joeckel: Drafted number 2 overall in the first round of the 2013 NFL draft: Joeckel has been a hazard for the running game in Jacksonville, for ever since he entered the starting lineup, the Jags only have rushed for under 3000 yards and have given up the most sacks (121).
R. Jay Soward: Drafted number 29 overall in the first round of the 2000 NFL draft: Yet another bust at WR for Jacksonville. In this USC star’s lone NFL season, he caught 14 passes for 154 yards and 1 TD in just 13 games. Soward also struggled with alcohol abuse, but would end up playing in the CFL and the Indoor Football League.
Reggie Williams: Drafted number 9 overall in the first round of the 2004 NFL draft: This Washington receiver didn’t go his Senior season and decided to declare early for the draft, but one thing he is remembered for is his lack of maturity. He once even busted out into a dance after a run block. While Williams may have caught 10 TD’s in the 2007 season (a franchise record), he never could surpass 57 receptions in his career. The next season, however, Williams caught only 37 receptions in 16 games. Jacksonville would have the last laugh releasing him after the 2008 season. Following that season, Williams was arrested for drug charges, but tried to make a comeback in 2009 with the Seattle Seahawks.
Derrick Harvey: Drafted number 9 overall in the first round of the 2008 NFL draft: Jacksonville traded up 18 spots to nab Havey, who was the first DE picked in the first round in franchise history. When selected, the Jags thought they had a descent pass rusher, but instead nabbed a complete bust. Harvey only had 8 sacks in 3 seasons, but wasn’t even their full time starter, and to make matters worse he held out 38 days for his rookie contract. After being released in 2011, Harvey signed with the Broncos only to be released after the season. He later signed with the Bengals in 2012, but was also released.
Blake Bortles: Drafted number 3 overall in the 2014 NFL Draft: Bortles struggled his rookie season behind a mediocre offensive line and lacking receivers, but had the 3rd worst total QB rating among rookies since the 2006 season. One wonders how he will fare this season, but shouldn’t be too concerned about this.