How An Unbelievable Streak Of Bad NFL Draft Luck Destroyed The Jacksonville Jaguars

The 2013 Jacksonville Jaguars are
one of the worst teams ever, and their awful draft record is a big reason why.

SI’s Peter King dropped this nugget in his column Monday: Of the 26 players drafted by Jacksonville between 2009 and 2012, just four are currently starting for the team.

That’s astoundingly bad drafting.

As we’ve seen with the Cleveland Browns, one horrible draft can sink a franchise. The Jaguars had four in a row, which created a lost half-decade for the team.

While it’s tempting to blame the Jags front office for their ineptitude, this is actually just an extraordinary streak of bad luck.

University of Pennsylvania professor Cade Massey has studied the NFL Draft and concluded that there’s really no science to it.

“Something between 95 and 100 per cent — I’m not exaggerating — of team differences in the draft is driven by chance,” he said earlier this year.

Here are all of the Jags draft picks between 2009 and 2012. It’s incredibly unlucky (starters in bold):

  • Justin Blackmon, WR (2012, first round): Suspended for entire 2013 season, entered rehab facility
  • Blaine Gabbert (2011, first round): Benched
  • Tyson Alualu, DT (2010, first round): STARTER
  • Eugene Monroe, OT (2009, first round): Traded to Baltimore
  • Andre Branch, DE (2012, second round): Back-up
  • Eben Britton, OT (2009, second round): Signed with the Chicago Bears
  • Bryan Anger, P (2012, third round): STARTER
  • Will Rackley, G (2011, third round): STARTER
  • Terrance Knighton, DT (2009, third round): Signed with the Denver Broncos
  • Derek Cox, CB (2009, third round): Signed with the San Diego Chargers
  • D’Anthony Smith, DE (2010, third round): Cut during the 2013 preseason
  • Cecil Shorts III, WR (2011, fourth round): STARTER
  • Chris Prosinski, S (2011, fourth ground): Back-up
  • Mike Thomas, WR (2009, fourth ground): Traded to the Detroit Lions
  • Brandon Marshall, LB (2012, fifth round): Cut in the 2013 preseason
  • Rod Issac, CB (2011, fifth round): Cut in the 2012 preseason
  • Larry Hart, DE (2010, fifth round): Cut in the 2011 preseason
  • Austen Lane, DE (2010, fifth round): Cut in 2013 preseason
  • Jarett Dillard, WR (2009, fifth round): Cut in 2012 preseason
  • Mike Harris, CB (2012, sixth round): Back-up
  • Deji Karim, RB (2010, sixth round): Cut in 2012 preseason
  • Scotty McGee, CB (2010, sixth round): Cut in 2011 preseason
  • Zach Miller, TE (2009, sixth round): Cut after 2011 season
  • Jeris Pendleton, DT (2012, seventh round): Cut in 2013 preseason
  • Rashad Jennings, RB (2009, seventh round): Signed with Oakland Raiders
  • Tiquan Underwood, WR (2009, seventh round): Cut in 2011 preseason


As King points out, all of those picks were made by ex-GM Gene Smith, who was fired last year.

But the ratio here is so skewed that it’s almost certainly driven by chance. Smith couldn’t have drafted that badly if he tried.

The Jags should have the top pick in the loaded 2014 NFL Draft. The numbers say they should regress to the mean.

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