Remember when the Jaguars were an expansion team going deep into the playoffs? Well those days are long gone...today the team is all Chad Henne and Justin Blackmon and John Cyprien and bad vibes. But they used to be pretty good. I remember them for a great defense and then a few steady offensive veterans that kept the ship moving. This card captures all four of the guys I remember - Keenan McCardell, Mark Brunell, Jimmy Smith, and Fred Taylor, which is pretty cool.
McCardell spent his true first four seasons in Cleveland, and really broke out in 1995 with 700+ yards in 5 games started. In the offseason he was signed by the Jaguars, and he spent the next 6 years dominating as part of the "Thunder and Lightning" duo with Jimmy Smith, including making the Pro Bowl in 1996. He eventually moved on to the Buccaneers in 2002, and won a Super Bowl (where he had two touchdown receptions) and made a Pro Bowl in his two years there. That 2003 season would be his last great one, as McCardell then had four okay years (three in San Diego, one in Washington) before retiring following the 2007 season. 16 year career, 16th all time in receptions, 27th in receiving yards - that's all way more than I expected. So kudos to you Keenan!
Mark Brunell was mentioned in a previous post, but it's interesting to see how his tenure in Jacksonville ended. I'd blame the offensive line a bit - Brunell led the league in sacks in 2001 after almost doing so in 2000. By 2003 Byron Leftwich was drafted and Brunell was moving on to greener pastures. It's crazy what a bad offensive line can do to a quarterback.
Last but not least, Fred Taylor was 1998 1st round pick who, as you probably guessed, was the best RB of his draft class like Smith and McCardell (beating our Ahman Green, Curtis Enis, and Robert Edwards among others). Taylor's first four years in the league gave him a reputation as an injury risk, as he played just 40 of 62 games due to various ailments. He was a yardage and touchdown machine though, and also stayed fairly healthy in his next 7 years in Jacksonville to cement his place as a franchise great. He made a Pro Bowl in 2007 but appeared to slow a step in 2008, leading to Jacksonville letting him go. The Patriots picked him up and let him do the RB by committee thing for two years before Taylor called it a career. Still, 13 years for an "injury risk" back is pretty impressive, and really shows how tough Taylor truly was!
Who wins the card? Man, this is a tough one. There's a decent argument to be made that these are the four most notable Jaguars, at least offensively, in team history. I think my choice has to be Jimmy Smith, though I give mad respect to Keenan McCardell for excelling in Smith's shadow for so long.