3 best running backs in Jacksonville Jaguars history
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3 best running backs in Jacksonville Jaguars history

The Jacksonville Jaguars, one of the youngest NFL franchises, can boast a pretty well-rounded history of running backs coming through the organization.

Besides the top two (very obvious) names, the Jaguars, in spite of being 25 years young, have had talent in the backfield.

These are three of the best running backs in Jacksonville history.

3. James Stewart (1995-99)

The first name is the lone individual beneath a steep cut-off between the next two players due to sheer productivity of the other two. James Stewart was the second-ever draft pick by the Jaguars, who were afforded the second-overall pick in the 1995 NFL Draft and took offensive tackle Tony Boselli. The Jags selected the Tennessee rusher with the 19th overall selection, kickstarting his five-year tenure with the Florida franchise.

Stewart never made a single Pro Bowl appearance with the Jaguars, rushing for his best production with Jacksonville in his final year, 1999, with 931 rushing yards and a career-best 13 touchdowns. He’d later record a pair of 1,000-plus rushing yard seasons with the Detroit Lions.

Stewart gets a distinction on the list for his pioneering play in the backfield for the then-upstart Jaguars franchise. The first running back in franchise history also possesses the record for most rushing touchdowns in a single game for the Jags, with five, occurring against the Philadelphia Eagles in Oct. 1997.

Stewart left the franchise by 2000 when Fred Taylor became the primary rusher.

2. Maurice Jones-Drew (2006-13)

UCLA product Maurice Jones-Drew had a terrific rookie season with the Jaguars after they selected him with the final pick of the second round of the 2006 NFL Draft, recording 941 rushing yards and scoring 13 touchdowns on the ground. He also put up over 400 receiving yards with two more scores.

Jones-Drew was a star rusher for the Jaguars in his eight-year tenure, becoming a three-time Pro Bowl selection in three consecutive years, culminating in a league-leading 1,600-yard season on the ground in 2011, earning him a First-Team All-Pro honor, too.

Jones-Drew still possesses the Jaguars’ second-most all-time rushing yards and owns the most rushing touchdowns in franchise history. He finished up his career by returning home and playing for the Oakland Raiders in 2014 before retiring. “MJD” stands as one of the best and most dangerous rushers in Jaguars history, likely for years to come.

1. Fred Taylor (1998-2008)

A member of the elite 10,000-yard club, Fred Taylor possesses the 17th-most rushing yards in NFL history. He’s not yet a member of the Hall of Fame, but Taylor was once one of the most dominant running backs of his day.

Only a one-time Pro Bowl selection, Taylor was the ninth-overall selection of the 1998 NFL Draft by the Jaguars out of Florida, replacing Stewart as the go-to playmaker in the backfield in the early days of the franchise. Taylor rushed for over 1,200 yards and scored an outstanding 14 touchdowns in just his rookie season. In 11 seasons with Jacksonville, Taylor amassed the franchise all-time record 11,271 rushing yards and second-most touchdowns (62). Jones-Drew stands as second on the rushing yards list, a full 3,300 yards short of the leader.

Taylor once led the league in rushing yards per game, at 107.6, an amazing feat conquered in 2000. Taylor contributed seven seasons with over 1,100 rushing yards and stayed with the Jaguars long enough to pass the running back torch to Jones-Drew.

Taylor is no doubt the greatest running back in the history of the Jaguars, and he may be known for a while as the best player, too.