The Jaguars traded defensive end Dante Fowler on Tuesday after the 2015 first-round pick spent three-plus seasons with the franchise.
That run started with a torn ACL that cost Fowler his entire rookie season, went on to feature 14 sacks for the edge rusher in a reserve role and ended with third- and fifth-round picks coming back to Jacksonville. That fell short of the expectations that came with being the third overall pick, but was pretty much in line with the history of Jaguars first-round picks in the last 15 years or so.
Quarterback Byron Leftwich got off to a good start with the team in 2003, but was out of the starting job a couple of years later. That still leaves him ahead of 2011 first-rounder Blaine Gabbert and current quarterback Blake Bortles, a 2014 first-rounder, has never made a majority of people happy. Wide receivers Reggie Williams, Matt Jones and Justin Blackmon were all big disappointments and the same can be said of defensive end Derrick Harvey and tackle Luke Joeckel.
Safety Reggie Nelson has had a nice career, but most of it took place with other teams. Tight end Marcedes Lewis, defensive tackle Tyson Alualu and tackle Eugene Monroe were all solid starters for the team without developing into stars. Cornerback Jalen Ramsey is a star, but 2017 first-rounder Leonard Fournette has been injured for almost all of his second season.
The team has found good players elsewhere in the draft, but the return on first-round picks hasn’t been high for a team that picked in the top 10 12 times starting with the Leftwich selection. It also helps to explain why they’ve been picking so early so often in Jacksonville.