Countdown to Jaguars Football: No. 39 and Who Has Donned it Best
In fewer than 100 days, the Jacksonville Jaguars will return ... at least as things stand today.
While there is still some uncertainty surrounding the start of the NFL season, the league office has made it clear that they are planning to kick the season off on Sept. 10 and then have every other team play on Sept. 13.
By going off that timeline, we are now just 39 days from watching the Jaguars take the field against the Indianapolis Colts for the first regular season game of 2020.
In an effort to countdown to the start of the season, we will now be going from 95 through 1 to determine the best players to don the teal, black, and white for the Jaguars at each specific number.
So when considering each player has worn the No. 39 since Jacksonville's first season in 1995, who has been the most impactful? Since the team's inception, here are the players who have worn the jersey number:
- Tashaun Gipson Sr: 2016-18
- Richard Murphy: 2012
- Alvin Pearman: 2008
- Chris Parker: 1997
So while only four players on this list have donned No. 39, we can still narrow it down to the best three and determine who was the absolute best to do it.
No. 3: Richard Murphy
An undrafted free agent out of LSU in 2012, Richard Murphy signed with the Jaguars and quickly established himself as a rookie worth keeping tabs on. With Maurice Jones-Drew and other backs taking up room on the depth chart, however, Murphy appeared in only five games in his line season with the Jaguars. In those five games, Murphy rushed 23 times for 92 yards, a solid 4.0 yards per carry. The fact he made No. 3 on this list despite not even having 25 carries as a Jaguar is indicative of those who have worn No. 39, but he is able to edge out Chris Parker for the spot.
No. 2: Alvin Pearman
Alvin Pearman wore No. 39 and No. 34 in two different stints with the Jaguars. In his first two years in Jacksonville, Pearman recorded 58 carries for 238 yards and two touchdowns, along with 34 receptions for 252 yards. Pearman's lone contribution in his second stint with the Jaguars was a 23-yard touchdown catch, but overall the team's 2005 fourth-round draft pick appeared in 30 games for the Jaguars over the span of three seasons. He also played a key role on special teams, returning 81 punts for 693 yards (8.6 yards per return) and 35 kicks for 243 yards (22.1 yards per return).
No. 1: Tashaun Gipson
The unquestioned top No. 39 in Jaguars' history, Tashaun Gipson spent three seasons as Jacksonville's starting free safety during two of the best defensive years in team history. A key piece to the "Jackson 5" secondary in 2017 that also featured Jalen Ramsey, A.J. Bouye, Aaron Colvin and Barry Church, Gipson is maybe the best playmaker the Jaguars had at the safety position in the entire 2010s decade.
In three seasons, Gipson appeared and started in all 48 possible regular season games, while also starting three playoff games in 2017. Gipson recorded 159 tackles, five tackles for loss, six interceptions, 16 pass deflections and one fumble recovery. He recorded four interceptions and seven pass deflections for the vaunted Jaguars 2017 defense, and the team hasn't seen a safety record as many interceptions in a season since.