JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Former Jacksonville Jaguars offensive tackle Tony Boselli did not make it into the Pro Football Hall of Fame over the weekend, but Boselli was among the 10 finalists, and that’s a good sign that his chances for eventual election are in good shape.
Now that Boselli is firmly entrenched as a Hall of Fame candidate, it’s time to give some attention to two other former Jaguars players who deserve consideration: receiver Jimmy Smith and running back Fred Taylor, both of whom were among the 108 nominees for the HOF Class of 2018 back in September.
Here’s a quick breakdown on Smith and Taylor and what might be holding each back from advancing in the process:
WR Jimmy Smith
Years: 1992 with Dallas; 1995 to 2005 with Jacksonville.
Career stats: 862 catches for 12,287 yards and 67 touchdowns. He had 40 catches for 647 yards and seven touchdowns in 11 playoff games.
Why he deserves consideration: Smith totaled nine 1,000-yard receiving seasons, including seven in a row. Only five players in NFL history have had more consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons: Jerry Rice (11), Tim Brown (nine), Cris Carter (eight), Marvin Harrison (eight) and Torry Holt (eight). Rice, Brown, Carter and Harrison are Hall of Famers. Smith made five Pro Bowls and led the NFL in catches in 1999 (116). He ranks 22nd all time in receiving yards.
What might hold him back: Smith has had multiple off-field issues, and while the Hall of Famer voters are instructed to consider only what happened on the field and a player’s contribution to the game, it’s naive to think that Smith’s five arrests for DUI, drugs and firearms, serving several years in prison, and an admitted cocaine addiction won’t give some voters pause.
RB Fred Taylor
Years: 1998 to 2008 with Jacksonville; 2009 to 2010 with New England.
Career stats: 11,695 yards and 66 touchdowns rushing; 290 catches for 2,384 yards and eight touchdowns receiving. He ran for 613 yards and three touchdowns and caught seven passes for 70 yards and one touchdown in eight playoff games.
Why he deserves consideration: Taylor ranks 17th on the all-time rushing list, and all but three players ahead of him are already in the Hall of Fame. The ones who aren’t are Frank Gore and Adrian Peterson (both still active) and Edgerrin James (who was a finalist in 2018). Taylor was an explosive back with a rare mix of size (6-foot-1, 234 pounds), speed (4.29 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the combine) and lateral quickness. He surpassed 1,000 yards seven times in his 13-year career, including a career-high 1,572 yards in 2003. There are 21 players with fewer rushing yards than Taylor already in the Hall of Fame.
What might hold him back: Taylor never led the league in rushing and made just one Pro Bowl (2007). The lack of Pro Bowls is partly because he played in a small market but also because his career overlapped with some other great backs in the AFC: Edgerrin James, Shaun Alexander, LaDainian Tomlinson, Jamal Lewis, Curtis Martin and Terrell Davis.