Countdown to Jaguars Football: No. 91 and Who Has Donned it Best
In less 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 91 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 Rob Meier as the best to wear No. 92 in Jacksonville, but what about the next number?
So when considering each player has worn the No. 92 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:
- Yannick Ngakoue: 2016-19
- Chris Clemons: 2014-15
- Abry Jones: 2013
- George Selvie: 2011-12
- Derrick Harvey: 2008-10
- Kenny Pettway: 2007
- Anthony Maddox: 2004-05
- Marco Coleman: 2002
- Seth Payne: 1997-01
- Paul Frase: 1995-96
A few obvious names pop out for starters, though there has ultimately been a number of contributors with the franchise who are deserving of recognition. So, who have been the top 91s in Jaguars' history?
No. 3: Chris Clemons
Spending the final two years of his career in Jacksonville, Chris Clemons produced on a more consistent basis than many of the other players who have donned No. 91, even if it was clear that he was in the twilight of his career. Signed to the Jaguars to ease the transition to Gus Bradley's defensive scheme, Clemons was a veteran presence on and off the field for the Jaguars during a period in which they didn't win many games.
In 32 career games, including 24 starts, Clemons recorded 50 tackles, 11 sacks, 11 tackles for loss, 20 quarterback hits, five forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries. Clemons recorded eight sacks in his first season in Jacksonville but just three in his second and final year, ultimately ending his Jaguars career on a lower note than he had started it.
No. 2: Seth Payne
Selected in the fourth round (114th overall) of the 1997 NFL Draft, Seth Payne went on to spend several years with Jacksonville as a member of some of the team's top defensive units. While he never put up jaw-dropping numbers, his five years spent contributing to the defensive side of the ball earns him the No. 2 slot on this list.
In his five years in Jacksonville, Payne appeared in 66 games and started 52, recording 136 tackles, 8.5 sacks, and 18 tackles for loss, solidifying himself as one of the team's more consistent and dependable front seven defenders. Payne would go on to spend the rest of his career with AFC South rival Houston Texans, but his contributions to Jacksonville's defense throughout the late 1990s is worthy of recognition.
No. 1: Yannick Ngakoue
Much like No. 92 and No. 93 had clear winners for best Jaguars to wear the jersey, No. 91 has a similarly obvious answer. Perhaps the best young defensive end in the team's 25-year history, Yannick Ngakoue has turned himself into one of the league's top pass-rushers since being drafted in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft out of Maryland thanks to his ability to create game-changing plays.
A key member of Jacksonville's dominant 2017 defense thanks to his 12 sacks and six forced fumbles in a Pro Bowl season, Ngakoue is currently in the process of trying to depart from the Jaguars due to a lack of a contract extension in recent years. And despite his current disgruntlement, his production over the last four years is impossible to ignore. In four years, he has played in 63 games, starting 62, and is second all-time in sacks in franchise history with 37.5 sacks. He has also recorded 42 tackles for loss, 85 quarterback hits, three fumble recoveries, and a staggering 14 forced fumbles.