In less than 100 days, Jacksonville Jaguars will return ... at least as things stand today.
While there is still some uncertainty surrounding the start to 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 95 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. 96 through 99 have been missed, leaving out players like Malik Jackson, Marcell Dareus, Joel Smeenge, Renaldo Wynn, and Terrance Knighton, but we will now get a start at No. 95.
So when considering each player has worn the No. 95 since Jacksonville's first season in 1995, who have been the most impactful? Since the team's inception, here are the players who have worn the jersey number:
- Abry Jones: 2014-19
- D’Anthony Smith: 2012
- Corvey Irvin: 2011
- Montavious Stanley: 2009
- Paul Spicer 2000-08
- Bryce Paup: 1998-99
- Jose White: 1997
- Mike Thompson: 1995
This isn't exactly a star-studded group, but there are a few names that pop out and one specific name which is the obvious top pick. But how would we order the top three players to wear No. 95?
No. 3: Bryce Paup
Bryce Paup spent just two seasons with the Jaguars, but he was a productive member of two of the best defenses in Jacksonville's history. In 1998, Paup was second on the team in sacks with 6.5, behind only Joel Smeenge. In two seasons with the team, Paup played in 31 games, starting 30. He recorded 98 tackles, 7.5 sacks, and three pass deflections and was a legitimately important piece to Jacksonville's postseason runs in each season.
If Paup spent more than two seasons in Jacksonville, he likely would have found himself higher on this list. His contributions over two years, however, are better than most of those who have worn No. 95 before and after him. He isn't a name that many fans will think of right away, but he was a solid and productive defender who played on some of the best Jaguars teams in franchise history.
No. 2: Abry Jones
The longest-tenured player on the Jaguars roster, Abry Jones is the clear No. 2 on this list. The long-time defensive tackle has been producing in the middle of Jacksonville's defense since he signed with the team as an undrafted free agent in 2013, starting 47 games and appearing in 100 games in seven seasons.
During the veteran nose tackle's career in Jacksonville, he has recorded 188 tackles, 9.5 sacks, 18 tackles for loss, three forced fumbles, and three fumble recoveries. Jones hasn't been a dominant force inside, but he is one of the best undrafted free agent successes in team history and he has been a key veteran for the Jaguars' locker room over recent seasons. While he may not be the ideal starter week-by-week, he is a solid player who has contributed to the Jaguars on and off the field long enough to earn respect as a member of the team's history.
No. 1: Paul Spicer
One of the best pass-rushers in Jaguars history, Paul Spicer is the obvious answer for No. 1 on this list. In nine years, Spicer played in 115 games (starting 63 games) and proved to be a key piece of several successful Jaguars teams. While the Jaguars have largely been known for their lack of pass-rushers prior to the run of the Sacksonville defense from 2017-2019, Spicer was one of the team's premiere sack artists for the 2000s decade.
During Spicer's time in Jacksonville, the veteran defensive end recorded 28.5 sacks, tying him for sixth all-time on the franchise's list of sack leaders. In nine seasons, Spicer also recorded 259 tackles, 50 tackles for loss, eight forced fumbles, and four fumble recoveries. He doesn't have the accolades of eventual pass-rushing stars like Yannick Ngakoue and Calais Campbell, but he is easily the best Jaguars player to ever don No. 95.