Do the Jaguars Just Have Bad Luck with First Round Draft Picks?

Many figured the Jacksonville Jaguars made a good selection when they picked up former Florida edge rusher Dante Fowler with the third pick in last week’s draft.

However, on the very first day of rookie mini-camp, Fowler sadly suffered very serious ACL injury, which will unfortunately keep him out the entire 2015 NFL season.

This is heartbreaking and just plain unlucky.

Besides having to erase Fowler from the team’s plans this season, Jacksonville hasn’t exactly had the best of luck with its recent first-round draft picks over the past five seasons.

The Jaguars spent their 2014 first-rounder on quarterback Blake Bortles, whom the jury is still out on after an underwhelming rookie season. Let’s just say he certainly was not last year’s version of Andrew Luck. Here’s to hoping Bortles will improve significantly during his sophomore campaign in 2015.

Offensive tackle Luke Joeckel, the second-overall pick from the 2013 draft, started out his career with the Jags by missing 11 games his rookie season due to an ankle injury. And while Joeckel did play all 16 games in 2014, he graded out 67th among a possible 84 offensive tackles in the NFL (via Pro Football Focus, subscription required).

In 2012, the Jaguars selected a wide receiver in Justin Blackmon who most scouts had as a can’t-miss product coming out of Oklahoma State. After a promising rookie season that saw Blackmon put up nearly 900 receiving yards, things have gone south for the former first rounder. In fact, he has not even stepped on to a football field since Week 3 of the 2013 season. We are not even sure when Blackmon, who needs to request reinstatement back to the NFL, will ever return. He has been serving an indefinite suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. For all intents and purposes, it would appear Blackmon has no plans of returning to the NFL anytime soon.

Last and definitely least, Jacksonville exhausted the 10th overall pick in 2011 NFL draft on quarterback Blaine Gabbert, who lasted 27 starts before being exiled to the San Francisco 49ers in a trade last offseason. In his three years with the team, Gabbert tallied 22 touchdowns compared to 24 interceptions en route to a 5-22 record as the team’s starter. Ouch!

The unfortunate news surrounding Fowler brings to light Jacksonville’s disastrous first-round selections over the past half decade. And while everyone loves to jump on the bottom feeders in the NFL, Jacksonville has just been the victim of bad luck.

No one could have envisioned Blackmon’s off-field issues. Fowler played in every single game during his Florida career. And Joeckel did not have an injury-prone reputation coming out of Texas A&M in 2013.

Let’s hope Fowler can rebound from this devastating injury, not only for his own sake, but for the sake of the Jaguars organization.

Photo: USA Today Sports