Countdown to Jaguars Football: No. 79 and Who Has Donned it Best
In fewer than 100 days, 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 79 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. Yesterday, we tabbed Kyle Brady as the team's best No. 80, but what about the next number?
So when considering each player has worn the No. 79 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:
- Corey Robinson: 2018
- Jordan Hill: 2016
- Red Bryant: 2014
- Tony Pashos: 2007-08
- Drew Inzer: 2002
- Reggie Nelson: 2000
- Anthony Cesario: 1999
- Dave Widell: 1995-97
While this list doesn't contain many household names, there are a few players on this list who deserve recognition for their contributions to the Jaguars during their tenures.
So, who has been the best No. 79 in Jaguars history? We debate below.
No. 3: Red Bryant
A one-year stopgap at the 'big end' position, Red Bryant was signed as an unrestricted free agent from Seattle in 2014 to help the Jaguars transition to Gus Bradley's 4-3 under defensive scheme. Bryant helped the Jaguars fill an important role in the defense while also providing one of the NFL's youngest rosters a veteran presence, along with fellow former Seahawk defensive lineman Chris Clemons.
In Bryant's lone season with the team, he started all 16 games and recorded 23 tackles with one sack, two tackles for loss, two quarterback hits and one forced fumble, though his impact as an edge-setting run defender went far beyond any basic statistics which typically fill up a stat sheet.
No. 2: Tony Pashos
A two-year starter for the Jaguars on the right side of the line, Tony Pashos was a reliable veteran for a unit that would quickly draft two offensive tackles in the first few rounds early on his Jaguars tenure. Still, Pashos started 31 of a possible 32 games for the Jaguars, with many of the starts coming at right tackle.
While Pashos wasn't with the Jaguars for long, he still started more games for the team than most other players on this list and that kind of experience has to be taken into consideration. He didn't finish his career in Jacksonville, however, as he played one season each for Cleveland and Oakland following his release.
No. 1: Dave Widell
The top player on this list was also the team's first-ever center, with Dave Widell technically being the first player in Jaguars' history to snap a ball. Widell played with the Jaguars toward the end of his decade-long career so he would only spend three seasons with the team, but he is hands down the best No. 79 in franchise history thanks to his anchoring of the offensive line alongside Tony Boselli.
In three seasons, Widell appeared in 47 regular season games (starting 42) and four playoff games, specifically the Jaguars' three postseason games in 1996 when they defeated Jim Kelly and John Elway in back-to-back weeks. Widell didn't have as lengthy of a tenure in Jacksonville as other top players we have recognized, but he was a reliable constant in the middle of the Jaguars' offensive line during the team's infancy stages.