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Jacksonville Jaguars: 10 Biggest Draft Busts in Franchise History

Matthew LittleCorrespondent IJanuary 15, 2017

Jacksonville Jaguars: 10 Biggest Draft Busts in Franchise History

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    George Santayana once said, "Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it." 

    With the 2013 NFL draft approaching, new Jacksonville Jaguars general manager David Caldwell has a difficult task ahead of him. 

    The task? 

    Rebuilding the current roster into a competitive team that will one day make the playoffs and win a Super Bowl.  That day will be long from today, and if he does not learn from the mistakes of the past, he may never see it.

    In order to help with this history lesson, I have compiled a list, and ranked the top 10 biggest draft busts in Jaguars' history.

10. Joey Chustz, OT, Louisiana Tech

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    Joey Chustz was drafted in the fourth round of the 2000 NFL draft. 

    Remember him? 

    In recent years, the Jaguars have shown that they highly covet their mid-round picks. Chustz may be the reason why.

    Despite playing offensive tackle, Chustz did not start his rookie year.  In fact, he did not play during his rookie year in any capacity.

    In February of 2001, Chustz was released, not even a full year after the Jaguars selected him. 

    What's worse? 

    His career was over at that point, and was only in the NFL for that one year without ever playing a snap.

9: Michael Cheever, C, Georgia Tech

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    The former Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket center was drafted in the second round of the 1996 NFL draft. 

    It's not necessarily that Michael Cheever was a terrible pick, he wasn't. 

    Typically, when you hear of a player that only plays in a handful of games, you think of poor performance on the field.  In this particular case, it wasn't. 

    Cheever was voted to the All-Rookie team following his first season.  In December of the 1997 season, Cheever had surgery to shave two bulging discs in his lower back. 

    He had worked to return to the field, but was placed on the Injured Reserve list in August 1998, and never stepped on the field again.

    "It's very disappointing because he worked so hard in the offseason to come back to this team," former teammate Tony Boselli said. "When someone has a season-ending injury, it's hard to take."

8: Cordell Taylor, DB, Hampton

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    Cordell Taylor was a second-round pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars in 1998. 

    He played one year for the Jaguars, mostly on special teams.  Because Taylor and Cheever were drafted in the second round, more was expected from them. 

    However, because there was not a big contribution, they are seen as bigger busts.

    In two seasons in the NFL, Taylor was a member of three teams (Jags, Bears and Seahawks) and was out of the league by 1999.

7: Quentin Groves, DE, Auburn

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    Quentin Groves was selected in the second round of the 2008 draft to join Derrick Harvey as the two defensive ends that would wreak havoc in the backfield. 

    Spoiler alert, Derrick Harvey is also on the list. 

    Again, due to the high draft pick, Groves should have made a more lasting impact on the Jaguars. 

    After two seasons and only two and a half sacks, Groves was traded to the Oakland Raiders and netted the Jaguars a fifth-round pick during the 2010 draft—the acquired pick was used on defensive end Austen Lane.

6. Reggie Williams, WR, Washington

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    With the ninth overall selection of the 2004 draft, the Jacksonville Jaguars selected wide receiver Reggie Williams. 

    He was supposed to play opposite Jimmy Smith, but at times didn't look like he belonged on the same field as the Jaguar legend.  Maybe it was desperation that made the Jaguars take Williams so high. 

    Larry Fitzgerald and Roy Williams were off the board, pickings were starting to get slim.

    Williams did not have a great start to his career in 2004, and at times flashed the greatness expected from a top-10 draft pick. 

    Williams does hold the Jaguars record for most reception touchdowns in a single season.  He has that going for him.  He benefited from good quarterback play, and that wasn't something seen in Jacksonville very often in the few years Williams was on the team. 

    He also had a history with off-the-field issues, and that may have kept him from reaching his true potential.

5. Byron Leftwich, QB, Marshall

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    Byron Leftwich was drafted to be the franchise quarterback, to be the starting quarterback for years to come. He had a famed career at Marshall, and the image of his offensive line carrying the injured quarterback down the field to orchestrate a fourth quarter comeback is what the Jaguars were hoping to get. 

    I don't know what the exact opposite of that is, but Leftwich was close to that.

    Though fans bash Leftwich, he wasn't actually as terrible as his reputation in the city would lead you to believe. He was developing into a quality NFL quarterback after his first couple of seasons. However, ankle injuries kept him from consistently staying on the field, and after sustaining the injuries, Leftwich had a tough time getting back to form. 

    It didn't help losing Jimmy Smith as a target, either.

    Leftwich was eventually let go by the Jaguars in 2007.

4. Eben Britton, OT, Arizona

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    Eben Britton was selected by former general manager Gene Smith in the second round of the 2009 NFL draft.  He was projected as a first-round pick but fell to the Jaguars in the second round.

    Britton's career was hampered by injury, though while on the field, Britton never lived up to his personal agenda.

    "Every team that passed on me is gonna regret it for the rest of the history of that franchise...I'm angry and the chip on my shoulder just got a little deeper. You know what? I'm gonna work my [buttocks] off for the Jacksonville Jaguars and people are gonna regret it. I've got my own agenda, and that's first and foremost to take the Jacksonville Jaguars to the Super Bowl. Secondly, I'm gonna be the greatest offensive tackle to ever play this game." 

3. Derrick Harvey, DE, Florida

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    Where to begin? 

    Derrick Harvey was a second-team All-SEC defensive end at the University of Florida in 2006 and 2007. He was named the BCS National Championship game most valuable player. The Jaguars loved that about him, and his 6'5'' frame. 

    He was expected to be the pass-rusher the Jaguars had needed to push them into being a serious contender. The year before, they were one game away from the Super Bowl, but couldn't knock out an undefeated New England Patriots team.  The Jaguars were so desperate to draft Harvey, that they traded up to the eighth overall pick to take him

    2008 was not a good year for defensive ends in Jacksonville.  Neither Harvey, nor the aforementioned Quentin Groves got the franchise to where they wanted to go. 

    Harvey's career was even less productive.

2. Matt Jones, QB/WR, Arkansas

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    I'll be honest.  I've never been in the Jaguars war room during a draft.  I would have loved to have been in it in 2005, though. 

    I want to know what the conversation was when it was time to make a pick. 

    From an outside perspective, the pick is absolutely mind-blowing. The Jaguars drafted a quarterback, but they played him at wide receiver. 

    Well, if they wanted a receiver, why didn't they just take an actual receiver? 

    Roddy White was available, as were most prospects at the 21st overall selection—White ended up being picked six selections later.

    If somehow the Jaguars wanted a quarterback and thought they were getting the best one available, than I'd sure like to see what they thought of Aaron Rodgers, who was drafted by the Green Bay Packers just three picks after the Jaguars selected Jones.

    To be fair, of the two college quarterbacks, Jones did have more touchdown receptions than Rodgers.

1. R. Jay Soward, WR, USC

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    Tom Coughlin was known as a strict disciplinarian around the Jaguars locker room. Players generally respond well to pressure from the coach, Soward was the exception. 

    Soward entered the NFL's substance abuse program twice for drinking problems, and was arrested for disorderly conduct after, threatening to shoot two police officers at an Orlando theme park

    This made the lone season he spent as a part of the Jaguars organization more eventful off the field, than it ever was on the field. 

    He totaled just 14 receptions for 154 yards and a touchdown. 

    The amount of risk/reward for the pick was unbelievable.

    The risk, obviously, but the reward was a needed receiver/return specialist that could run a 4.35 40-yard dash.  Adding his athleticism to a 14-2 team would make that a very difficult team to match up against. 

    To bring that into today's terms, think of Percy Harvin joining the Seahawks, if the Seahawks were better and Harvin was faster.

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