Countdown to Jaguars Football: No. 48 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 48 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. 48 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:
- Leon Jacobs: 2018 -19
- Alex Ellis: 2016
- Jeremy Cain: 2009-12
- Chris Griffin: 1996
So with such a small group, how do we it narrow it down to the top players to ever wear No. 48? We debate below.
No. 3: Alex Ellis
After signing with the Tennessee Titans as an undrafted free agent following a college career at Tennessee, Alex Ellis signed to Jacksonville's practice squad in Sept. 2016 and stuck on the roster for his entire rookie year, eventually being promoted to the active roster in November.
Playing in just six games for the Jaguars in 2016, Ellis caught three passes for 11 yards on four targets and was more of a special teams player and a blocking tight end. Ellis hasn't caught a pass since being waived by the Jaguars, but he has spent time with the New Orleans Saints, Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles.
No. 2: Jeremy Cain
A key depth linebacker and special teams contributor throughout his nine-year career, Jeremy Cain never started at linebacker for the Jaguars but he was frequently on the field in other roles. An undrafted free agent out of Massachusetts, Cain signed with the Jaguars in 2009 after spending two years with the Chicago Bears and one year with the Tennessee Titans, and he would go on to spend the next four years as one of Jacksonville's core special teams players.
In four seasons with the Jaguars, Cain appeared in all 64 games for the team, making him a beacon of consistency and reliability for the team's special teams units. He recorded just 12 tackles with the team, but he also added a recovered fumble to his resume in 2011. He would spend the last two years of his career with the Bears following his stint with the Jaguars, but 64 appearances earn him a spot on this list.
No. 1: Leon Jacobs
Jacksonville's current No. 48, Leon Jacobs earns the top ranking on this list by default considering he is the only player to play extensive snaps as a starter out of anyone who has worn No. 48 for the Jaguars. A seventh-round pick out of Wisconsin in the 2018 NFL Draft, the hulking and physically imposing Jacobs has held down Jacksonville's strong side linebacker spot for the last two years and showed great improvement in 2019.
In two seasons, Jacobs has appeared in 26 games (starting 10) and recorded 63 tackles, four tackles for loss, three quarterback hits, two sacks and one fumble recovery. He doesn't play a ton of snaps due to the fact that strong side linebacker is only used in defensive coordinator Todd Wash's base defense, but he is one of the better seventh-round picks in team history simply because he is an impressive run defender and has flashed impressive traits as a blitzer off of the edge.