AFC South: Kevin Hardy

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The upcoming NFL draft will be the 20th in Jacksonville Jaguars history, not counting the expansion draft.

To commemorate that milestone, I'm looking back at each draft and giving you the best and worst selections in each round. Today is the first round.

These rankings are based on what the player did with the Jaguars. If they failed to produce with the Jaguars but had success somewhere else -- whether they left as free agents, were cut and caught on somewhere else, or traded -- that's a negative.

I'm expecting some disagreement, which is fine. Your feedback is welcome (click the email link at the bottom), and I'm going to post some of the best comments (read: those without profanity) on April 16.

Here we go ...

Round 1: Best pick

[+] EnlargeTony Boselli
Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY SportsTony Boselli made five pro Bowls during his seven-season NFL career.
The first pick the Jaguars ever made still remains their best.

Tom Coughlin selected offensive tackle Tony Boselli with the No. 2 overall pick in the 1995 draft and Boselli became one of the cornerstones of the franchise's surprising early success. He went on to make five Pro Bowls and was voted to the All-Pro team three times in his seven-year career with the Jaguars.

Boselli started 12 games as a rookie and all 16 in his second season. By his third season, he was regarded as one of the best tackles in the game. That soon changed into him being regarded as the best tackle in the game. Unfortunately, a shoulder injury cut short a career that could have ended with Boselli being the first Jaguars player inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Honorable mention

RB Fred Taylor (1998) holds Jaguars career records in rushing yards (11,271) and attempts (2,428) and single-game records in yards (234) and attempts (37). He is currently 15th on the NFL's all-time rushing list.

LB Kevin Hardy (1996) ranks fourth on the Jaguars' all-time sack list (28.5) and fourth in team history with 789 tackles. He had 10.5 sacks and was voted to the All-Pro team and the Pro Bowl in 1999.

DT John Henderson (2002) is third on the Jaguars' all-time sack list (29), which is a significant achievement for a defensive tackle. He also ranks fifth in team history in tackles (563) and is a two-time Pro Bowler.

Round 1: Worst pick

The Jaguars took receiver R. Jay Soward with the 29th overall pick in 2000. It turned out to be the biggest bust in team history.

Soward eventually admitted that he battled alcohol issues throughout his career and smoked marijuana regularly while he was at USC. That's why his NFL career ended with just 14 receptions for 154 yards and a touchdown, three carries for 28 yards, and 18 punt and kickoff returns.

Soward struggled just getting to practices and meetings on time. Coughlin sent limos to pick Soward up to make sure he made it on time. He was suspended multiple times for violating the league's substance abuse policy.

Honorable mention

DE Derrick Harvey (2008) never came close to living up to the hype of being the eighth overall pick. He was an elite pass-rusher at Florida but managed just eight sacks in his three seasons with the Jaguars.

QB Blaine Gabbert (2011) was 5-22 as a starter and threw 22 touchdown passes and 24 interceptions in 28 career games. The No. 10 overall pick also couldn't stay healthy. He missed games because of injuries to his shoulder, forearm (the final six games of the 2012 season), thumb, hamstring, and a cut on his hand. He failed to finish six of his last 10 starts (including preseason) because of those injuries.

WR Justin Blackmon (2012) has already violated the league's substance abuse policy three times in his first two seasons and is currently suspended indefinitely.

Final Word: AFC South

December, 28, 2012
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NFC Final Word: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Five nuggets of knowledge about Week 17:

Playing at Indianapolis: The Houston Texans have never won in Indianapolis. They are 0-10 all time on the road against the Indianapolis Colts. That’s tied for the most road losses against an opponent without a win in NFL history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. (The Minnesota Vikings are 0-10 at the Colts, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are 0-7 at the Tennessee Titans/Houston Oilers.) But the Texans are a good road team this season. Houston is 6-1 away from home, the best road record in the NFL. Its lone road loss came in Week 14 at New England. Houston has won two straight road divisional games and is 4-1 in its past five divisional road games. Working against the Texans: It will be an incredibly emotional day for the Colts. They are locked in as the No. 5 seed in the playoffs, while the Texans have home-field advantage and even a first-round bye at stake. But it’s Chuck Pagano’s first game back as coach since completing his treatment for leukemia.

[+] EnlargeAndrew Luck
Andy Lyons/Getty ImagesAndrew Luck has struggled recently -- completing fewer than 50 percent of his passes over the past four games.
Especially inaccurate: Colts rookie quarterback Andrew Luck has thrown for an NFL-rookie-record 4,183 yards this season. He ranks seventh in the NFL in passing yards. But he’s been especially inaccurate the past month, often missing his targets high. Luck has completed less than half of his passes in four consecutive games. According to ESPN Stats and Info, Luck and the New York Jets' Mark Sanchez, who did it earlier this season, are the only players in the past 10 seasons to complete less than half their passes in four straight games with at least 20 attempts in each game. Luck and the Colts are 3-1 in those games despite his struggles. Sanchez and the Jets went 1-3. Luck has had more of his passes defended (77) than any other quarterback in the league, 17 of which have been batted at the line of scrimmage. Houston has batted down 27 passes this year, more than any other defense in the past four seasons.

Watt on the verge: Over the past three years, no NFL defender has had a more disruptive season than Houston defensive end J.J. Watt is having. Watt has disrupted a league-high 35.5 drop-backs this season. (A sack, a pick or a pass defended is considered a drop-back disrupted.) Minnesota’s Jared Allen had the second-best season in the category in that time span with just 26 in 2011. Watt is 2.5 sacks from a single-season NFL record and had three against the Colts in Week 15 in Houston. It’s a great matchup for Watt because Luck has had 135 of his drop-backs disrupted, 26 more than the next-closest quarterback.

All-time worst: The Jacksonville Jaguars franchise is about to complete its worst season in history. If the Jaguars lose and the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Denver Broncos, Jacksonville will draft first. Otherwise, the Jaguars can do no worse than second. They drafted second in 1996 (linebacker Kevin Hardy) and 1995 (left tackle Tony Boselli). Jacksonville has won just twice this season, but one was a 24-19 win over the Titans at EverBank Field on Nov. 25. The Jags have won three of their past four against the Titans. A win would leave them with a 3-3 AFC South record, and the Titans would finish 0-6 in the AFC South.

Big numbers: Titans running back Chris Johnson needs 168 rushing yards in Week 17 to reach 7,000 career rushing yards. He would become the fourth player in NFL history to reach 7,000 career rushing yards in his first five seasons. Johnson enters the game against the Jaguars with the seventh-most rush yards by a player in his first five seasons, trailing only Eric Dickerson, LaDainian Tomlinson, Emmitt Smith, Earl Campbell, Walter Payton and Eddie George.

Best Jaguars Team Ever: 1999

June, 29, 2010
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Notable Players: WR Jimmy Smith, OT Tony Boselli, RB Fred Taylor, QB Mark Brunell, DE Tony Brackens, LB Kevin Hardy, S Donovin Darius

[+] EnlargeTony Brackens
AP Photo/Roberto BoreaTony Brackens made big plays for the 1999 Jaguars, including a team-record 12 sacks.
Analysis: The Jaguars have only 15 years of history, and choosing their best edition isn’t difficult. The 1999 club lost three games all season, all to the Tennessee Titans, with the third in the AFC Championship Game in Jacksonville.

Their ace running back was Taylor, who missed six regular-season games because of injury. He returned to turn in two 100-yard rushing games in the postseason.

Jacksonville had seven Pro Bowlers that season. After earning a bye with its 14-2 regular season, it waltzed to a 62-7 win over Miami in its first playoff game. James Stewart, who started seven games with Taylor hurt, scored 13 rushing touchdowns and Jimmy Smith pulled in 116 balls for 1,636 yards -- both still franchise records.

Brackens’ 12 sacks remain in place as the team’s single-season record. The 2009 Jaguars had 14 sacks total.

Most impressive win: Of the teams the Jaguars beat, only the Dolphins had a winning record. Only Carolina, the Jets, and Baltimore finished 8-8. Can you pick?

Research room: The 1999 Jaguars are one of four teams since 1999 to win at least 14 regular-season games and not reach the Super Bowl -- along with San Diego in 2006 (14-2), Indianapolis in 2005 (14-2), and Pittsburgh (15-1) in 2004.

Honorable mentions:

2007: A 11-5 record with an upset playoff win at nemesis Pittsburgh before a loss at eventual AFC Champion New England made for a surprisingly successful year.

1998: The AFC Central champions wound up 11-5, with a playoff win over New England before a road loss to the Jets.

1996: In only their second season on the field, the Jaguars got into the playoffs at 9-7 as the fifth seed thanks to tiebreakers with Indianapolis and Kansas City. They pulled upsets at Buffalo and at Denver before losing at New England in the AFC Championship Game.

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