Dante Fowler was part of trend of first-round disappointments in Jacksonville

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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.

12 responses to “Dante Fowler was part of trend of first-round disappointments in Jacksonville

  1. .
    It’s not only that Jacksonville drafted poorly for themselves, but they passed up on top shelf players who are now going up against them. Any Jags fan doing a redraft would be terminally despondent.

  2. As a Jags fan I do sometimes look back at some of the picks that they have passed on, all teams make the wrong choice from time to time, even BB has had some real stinkers in the past, but the Jags have had more than most teams. I’ve asked myself “how hard can it be” when picking in the top ten, I guess that’s the problem when dealing with humans who don’t always develop how their stats predict they should.

  3. I get it when people want to nitpick some of the knucklehead picks – and there have been several – but when a pick was widely agreed to be the ‘right pick’ or an ‘A’ selection, gimme a break with the 20/20 hindsight. Take Luke Joeckel… he was WIDELY considered the top 1-2 overall pick with it being somewhat surprising with the other T going 1st. Does Joeckel fall into the ‘poor pics’ category when all was said and done, sure thing… but this notion of ‘passing on top shelf players who are now going up against them’ is just dumb.

  4. David Caldwell is the worst GM in sports. 2 of his top 5 picks are no longer on the roster. Think about that for a minute. Jag fans like to give him a pass because he has managed to have some mid-round success, but his 1st round track record is unacceptable. Jaguar fans should NOT trust this man to pick Blake Bortles successor.

  5. It’s tough to call Fowler a “bad pick.” When they drafted him, everyone raved about it. They raved about him being a “dominant pass rusher that offenses must gameplan against.”

    Just because it didn’t work out doesn’t mean it was a bad pick. It just did not work out. Now, if it was a deal where we all said “what the heck are they doing” at the time the pick was made, that’s a different story.

  6. ,
    The Jags chose Joeckel, Bortles and Fowler while passing on DeAndre Hopkins, Khalil Mack and Todd Gurley.

  7. The Jags chose Joeckel, Bortles and Fowler while passing on DeAndre Hopkins, Khalil Mack and Todd Gurley.
    You managed to leave out the WORST one. Fournette over Mahomes.

  8. All you had to do was watch Fowler’s college tape, and see that there wasn’t anything that made him special. The idea of him was what was appealing – just like so many others we’ve seen over the years. But he wasn’t a big sack totals guy his last year, and he didn’t have the speed to finish off the edge. This really is no surprise.

  9. Funny, I posted something similar to this a few days in response to another article and received a bunch of down votes by people mentioning they’ve done good with some mid-round picks. That’s all fine and good but saying the Jags did well in the draft because of mid-round picks while ignoring the first round disasters is ridiculous.

    I do agree with the guy who said Joeckel was considered to be one of the top two tackles in the draft. It sure didn’t work out that way though. The same was thought of for most of those guys.

    The Jags have had much better luck in the 2nd round. They should just trade their first-round pick for a 2nd.

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