MY Eye on the Jags: Who’s Next In the Pride?

The Jacksonville Jaguars announced on Tuesday that former wide receiver Jimmy Smith will be inducted into the Pride of the Jaguars this upcoming season, which is frankly quite overdue. Smith is the franchise all-time leader in catches (862), receiving yards (12,287), and receiving touchdowns (67) and his name is all over the record books, which further emphasizes that this honor is well-deserved. The reason why it has been delayed is due to the fact that Smith has had off-field issues ever since he retired in 2006. But, it seems as if Smith has gotten his life back in order the past few years, which is why the Jaguars felt comfortable with inducting him into the Pride. Smith will join Tony Boselli, Fred Taylor, Mark Brunell and Wayne and Delores Weaver in the Jaguars version of their hall of fame. The ceremony will take place in December during the game against the Minnesota Vikings.

Every year, I find myself asking who will the Jaguars induct into the Pride of the Jaguars next. They have not inducted anyone new since 2013, when Brunell went in. After Smith is honored in December, the question will come back up again. Here are who I think could potentially be inducted next:

WR Keenan McCardell

McCardell and Smith formed arguably one of the best receiving duos in NFL history. The two receivers were nicknamed “Thunder” and “Lightning”. Fans on Twitter seemed surprised that the organization inducted Smith alone and felt that the two receivers should be inducted together. McCardell played six years in Jacksonville, but they were the most productive of his career and helped Smith, Brunell, Taylor and Boselli lead the young Jaguars team to their most dominant run as a franchise from 1996-1999. McCardell ended his Jaguars career with 499 receptions, 6,393 receiving yards, and 30 touchdowns.

Head Coach Tom Coughlin

Coughlin was the first head coach in franchise history and coached eight seasons in Jacksonville. He was the architect of a team that had immediate success in the league, leading arguably the most dominant expansion team in league history. The Jaguars earned four consecutive playoff appearances and two AFC Championship Game berths from 1996 to 1999. In the team’s first playoff appearance, in the second season of existence, Coughlin led the team to the AFC Championship Game. On the way there, the Jaguars upset heavily favored Buffalo and Denver in the wild card round and divisional playoff round, respectively.

Interesting note: Smith stated in a conference call with local Jaguars reporters who he would like to see in the Pride next:

 

RB Maurice Jones-Drew

Jones-Drew recently retired in 2015, but he should be mentioned as a potential name to be inducted into the Pride of the Jaguars. Jones-Drew played eight seasons for the Jaguars, and set numerous franchise records. MJD, a common nickname used by fans, was the lone bright spot on the team from 2008-2012, where he amassed 5,145 rushing yards, 40 touchdowns, and 1,630 receiving yards. He won the rushing title in the 2011 season, and accounted for 47.7% of the yards gained on offense (1,980 yards from scrimmage), an absurd number that shows how crucial he was to the team. He currently holds franchise records for most career touchdowns (81), most rushing touchdowns (63), most rushing yards in a season (1,606 in 2011), and most rushing touchdowns in a season (15 in 2009). He is 2nd in all-time rushing yards, behind fellow running back and Pride member Fred Taylor.