The Top 25 Jaguars: Players of 2011 (15-11)

It’s been five days since the reveal of players 20-16, but I’m back and ready to continue the countdown of the top 25 best players on the Jaguars roster. Here’s the list so far:

25. CB – Derek Cox
24. G – Vince Manuwai
23. OT – Eben Britton
22. LB – Kirk Morrison
21. CB – Rashean Mathis
20. C – Brad Meester
19. RB – Rashad Jennings
18. DE – Jeremy Mincey
17. S – Courtney Greene
16. LB – Justin Durant

And the list continues with players 15-11…

15. Tyson Alualu – DT – CaliforniaTyson Alualu

The NFL Draft is famous for surprising picks and players getting picked long before or after the TV personalities say they likely will. However, very few picks were more famously surprising than the Jaguars’ selection of Tyson Alualu with the 10th overall selection in 2010.

Many believed Alualu was going to be picked in the latter half of the first round or possibly even the second round, yet the Jaguars spent a top 10 pick on the Pac-10 product. But after fans and experts began studying what Alualu offered the Jaguars the new question became, why not take Alualu at 10? He had all the measurables and production necessary to make the comparisons to Gerald McCoy who went 3rd overall, yet Alualu was considered a reach.

In his first NFL season, Alualu started all 16 games and accumulated 3.5 sacks. His quick transition from the college ranks to starter in the NFL did not go unnoticed and earned him praise from many. Among those was Pro Football Focus, that at one point ranked Alualu at the top of their rookie of the year rankings after his week 3 performance against the Eagles.

Unfortunately, the lack of depth behind Alualu forced him to play an amount of snaps that caused his play to decline at the end of the season. Entering his second season, Alualu is a bright building block for the future of the Jaguars defensively.

14. Josh Scobee – K – Louisiana TechJosh Scobee

I feel like I could justify placing Josh Scobee this high just by playing one video clip. His 59 yard game winning field goal to topple the Colts was not only one of the highlights of the season for the Jaguars, but for the entire NFL.

It isn’t the only highlight of his seven year career, but it’s certainly the top one. The “Colts killer” as he’s called by ESPN’s Paul Kuharsky has nailed game winning kicks against the Colts three times in his career, all from over 50 yards. Scobee has a total of seven game winners in his career.

In 2010, as has been customary in his career, Scobee started off insanely hot, entering the bye week at a perfect 13 for 13 for field goals. His five for five performance against the Bills was paramount in the Jaguars being able to hold off the Bills. Although his season came to a rocky finish, Scobee has been a reliable kicker for the Jaguars ever since being drafted in the 5th round of the 2004 draft. 

13. Eugene Monroe – OT – VirginiaEugene Monroe

Gene Smith has received rave reviews since taking over as general manager for the Jaguars in early 2009. He started off his tenure by selecting Virginia offensive tackle Eugene Monroe with his first ever draft pick at 8th overall in the 2009 Draft.

Monroe has since seen time in 30 of the last 32 Jaguars games and has started 28 of those games. He has been a strong member of an offensive line that has paved lanes for Maurice Jones-Drew and company, but at left tackle the question is, does he protect the quarterback well enough. The stats would tell you that David Garrard gets hit and sacked too much, but those same stats will not tell who the blame for the sack goes on.

Many have blamed Monroe, while many have also blamed Garrard for inviting pressure and putting himself in the way of pass rushers. Regardless, Monroe has the capability to play better in the future. Much better in the opinion of Gene Smith.

“I think this will be a defining year for him,” Smith said. “He has the chance to be a Pro Bowl player. Height, weight, speed, arm length, intelligence, foot quickness, athletic ability – he has it all.” (via Jaguars.com)

12. Kassim Osgood – WR/ST – San Diego StateKassim Osgood

Prior to joining the Jaguars, Kassim Osgood made the Pro Bowl in 2006, 2007 and 2009 for his tremendous special teams play as a member of the San Diego Chargers. In his first year with the Jaguars, he wasn’t elected to the Pro Bowl and wasn’t able to extend his streak to four Pro Bowls in five years.

Was it because his play declined when he moved across the country? Absolutely not. It was because he was paired up with the Jaguars special teams ace Montell Owens.

The dynamic special teams duo led the Jaguars to be ranked as Football Outsiders’ 7th best special teams unit, after finishing 25th in 2009. Additionally the Jacksonville kick coverage ranked 5th.

Pro Football Focus felt that Osgood was the best special teamer in the AFC South, ahead of Montell Owens, saying “When you watch a lot of special teamers they seem erratic, and make bad decisions. Osgood is coolness personified, and it’s why he makes good plays look like routine plays.”

11. Montell Owens – ST – MaineMontell Owens

The difference in quality of play between Montell Owens and Kassim Osgood is so minimal that they absolutely had to be right next to each other on the list. The reason Owens gets the edge over Osgood is that he received his first career Pro Bowl bid in 2010.

Owens was a complete unknown at the Pro Bowl and was even called a safety for the Jaguars by some sources. Perhaps, though, he made his name stick in the minds of fans when he recovered a Devin Hester fumble on a kickoff for a touchdown and later caught a touchdown from Chiefs QB Matt Cassel.

As a member of the Jaguars, Owens has been a stalwart on punt and kick returns. Whether it’s being the first one to the returner from the other team or blasting open lanes for Deji Karim, Maurice Jones-Drew, Mike Thomas and Brian Witherspoon, Owens has been a huge difference maker for the Jaguars and will continue to be in the future.

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