The Dave Caldwell era was very hit-or-miss when it came to the draft. His first draft class in 2013 was almost laughably bad, as no one from that group is currently on an NFL roster. But he definitely had his good classes, as well, and perhaps none were better than his haul in 2016. According to Pro Football Focus, that class was the NFL’s second-best since 2016.
Unfortunately for Jaguars fans, memories of this class are mostly painful. Though the team took some role players later in the draft who contributed a bit like Sheldon Day, the highlight of the draft was the first three picks. The Jaguars took Jalen Ramsey in the first round, and after concerns about his long-term health caused him to slide, the Jags also got Myles Jack in Round 2.
That alone made this class excellent, but the Jags weren’t done. In the third, they drafted Yannick Ngakoue, a relatively unknown prospect from Maryland. Obviously, he eventually developed into one of the AFC’s best pass rushers while with the Jaguars.
These three players were at the heart of Jacksonville’s 2017 playoff run, and it seemed the Jags had a talented core for years to come. Unfortunately, we all know what happened next. The relationships between the team and both Ramsey and Ngakoue soured, and they were each traded. Of the seven players Jacksonville selected in that class, only one, Jack, is still with the team.
The Jaguars’ draft in 2016 set up one of the most entertaining seasons in franchise history, but the team couldn’t keep the roster intact. Now, with a new administration and roster rebuild, the class remains a monument to what could have been.