Few position groups have as hard of a time making it into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as the running back position. But when the eventual logjam at the position does clear up, there is one running back who a former Jaguars legend believes should be the first one up.
"This was my best draftmate, teammate and the next HOF running back @fredtaylor. #MadSkills," Darius said on Facebook.
Taylor has been receiving some public praise in recent weeks for his underrated run as one of the best running backs of his generation. Taylor himself has said for years he deserves more Hall of Fame consideration, and perhaps a push for Taylor's candidacy will now begin with Tony Boselli becoming the first Jaguars player inducted into Canton later this summer.
"Obviously, I think I belong," Taylor said when asked about the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2019.
"It is not in my hands. I think the voters after doing a deep dive, they will understand that I belong there too. I really believe I had a solid career. And hopefully the writers, they will understand that one day too."
Taylor recorded 13,632 total yards and 70 touchdowns in his career, with the vast majority of those coming with Jacksonville. He is the all-time leading rusher in franchise history with 11,271 yards, more than 3,000 more than the back behind him. He ranks No. 17 in rushing yards all-time.
When it comes to his production during his career, which spanned from 1998 to 2010, Taylor marked most of the boxes. He ran for at least 1,000 yards in seven of his 13 seasons and scored 32 rushing touchdowns in his first three seasons alone.
Only 11 Running backs have been inducted into Canton since 2000, meaning the issue is getting the position in the hall as opposed to Taylor himself. Taylor has received respect from the players he played with and against, along with the respect of opposing coaches such as Bill Cowher, but the Jaguars legend is still waiting to be named to Canton after being a semifinalist for the last three seasons.
"Taylor has been eligible for seven years now. He's been a semifinalist for three straight years but has yet to be named a finalist. He's been snubbed often, and it's a real shame that he's not a finalist this year. Taylor ranks 17th all-time in rushing yards (11,695), and every non-active running back above him in that list is already in the Hall," former Jaguars running back and Taylor's former teammate Maurice Jones-Drew wrote this spring.
"He had seven seasons with at least 1,100 rushing yards (T-sixth in NFL history) and led the league in rush yards per game (107.6) in 2000. He was an absolute force out of the backfield, and I witnessed Taylor's greatness firsthand in Jacksonville over my first three seasons in the league (2006-08). Taylor was an extraordinary teammate who exemplified everything it meant to be a professional. On the field, he had speed, vision and the ability to shred through defenses. His relentless work ethic -- both physically and in the film room -- allowed him to be one of the best of his era."