The Jacksonville Jaguars are finally a team on the rise as we approach the 2023 season, but it’s taken years of trial and error as far as team-building is concerned. The Jaguars have tried spending a ton of money in free agency combined with constantly picking high in the NFL Draft, and they’ve certainly had some mixed results.
Lately, the results have been better and it looks like Trevor Lawrence is going to be the star at the quarterback position this franchise has so desperately coveted.
But which players have the Jacksonville Jaguars given up on too soon? Which players could have helped this team but the Jaguars decided to move on? Let’s look at the top three players the Jaguars gave up on too early, focusing mainly on the last 20 years.
Top 3 players the Jacksonville Jaguars gave up on too soon
3. Reggie Nelson, safety
The Jacksonville Jaguars once used a first-round pick (21st overall) on Reggie Nelson back in the 2007 NFL Draft. Nelson was an immediate impact player for the Jaguars, picking off five passes in his rookie season with 11 passes defensed, two forced fumbles, and 62 total tackles. He probably should have made the Pro Bowl in his rookie season, but all that production did was lead to eventual unmet expectations as far as the Jaguars were concerned.
After three seasons with the team, Nelson was traded to the Cincinnati Bengals for safety David Jones and a conditional draft choice that ended up being a seventh-round pick in 2012. From 2010-2015, Reggie Nelson was one of the better safeties in the NFL. He picked off 23 passes with the Bengals and only missed three games over six seasons.
He was named an All-Pro and Pro Bowl player in the 2015 season, his last year with the Bengals, before joining the Raiders in 2016. He made another Pro Bowl in his first year with the Raiders and wound up picking off 8 more passes in three seasons there in Oakland.
Overall, it’s clear that the Bengals didn’t wait long enough for Nelson to truly become the best version of himself.