On January 21, 2018, Josh Lambo kicked a 43-yard field goal to give the Jacksonville Jaguars a 10-point lead over the New England Patriots with 14 minutes and 53 seconds remaining in the AFC Championship game. The Jaguars then went on to blow that lead, ending their hopes of reaching their first Super Bowl in team history and subsequently starting a free fall that has them where they are today.
In only two calendar years, they have gone from being a team that was 15 minutes away from the Super Bowl to a team that doesn’t look to be competing for anything other than the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
This is how they got there.
Where Are They Now: 2017 Jaguars Defense Edition
That 2017 Jaguars team was centered around one of the best defenses in recent memory. Among defenses over the previous five years, only the 2019 Patriots allowed a lower EPA per play mark than Jacksonville did in 2017, and Jacksonville's 37 turnovers forced throughout the regular season and the postseason were tied for the second-most of any defense over those five years. However, almost all of the players who made up that defense have left town for one reason or another.
Their highest-graded defenders that season were Jalen Ramsey, Calais Campbell, Paul Posluszny, A.J. Bouye, Telvin Smith Sr. and Yannick Ngakoue — five of those six players are no longer with the team, and the remaining player, Ngakoue, was franchise tagged last week but has made it clear that he wants out of Jacksonville.
|1. Jalen Ramsey||91.3||Traded to Rams|
|2. Calais Campbell||91.0||Traded to Ravens|
|3. Paul Posluszny||87.5||Retired|
|4. A.J. Bouye||84.5||Traded to Broncos|
|5. Telvin Smith Sr.||81.9||Stepped away from football|
|6. Yannick Ngakoue||81.0||Tagged but wants trade|
|7. Myles Jack||79.2||Still on team|
|8. Malik Jackson||78.1||Released|
|9. Marcell Dareus||76.1||Released|
|10. Barry Church||72.5||Released|
You have to go all the way down to Myles Jack — the team’s seventh-highest-graded defender in 2017 — to find someone still (happily?) under contract in Jacksonville, and even Jack is coming off the worst year of his career (46.1 overall grade in 2019). The next three names on the list have all been released, as well.