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MJD Is Elite If He's Healthy

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Maurice Jones-Drew led the Jags in rushing last year, but unless he stays healthy he won't be considered an elite running back. Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images.
Maurice Jones-Drew led the Jags in rushing last year, but unless he stays healthy he won't be considered an elite running back. Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images.

A few years ago the NFL Network began making an annual Top 100 players list. In a three-year time span, Maurice Jones-Drew had been the only Jaguar to consistently make the cut.

Prolifically known as “a bowling ball of butcher knives” by Colts head coach Chuck Pagano, Jones-Drew led the NFL in rushing yards in 2011 and had been rated the second-best running back in the league with a 12th-overall rating. After missing the preseason last year with a contract dispute and then more than half the games in the regular season, he stumbled down 86 slots all the way to 98th overall.

His foot injury seems  to have convinced most of his peers who participated in the voting process that he was slipping. His drop to 98th-overall ranks him among the top-12 of all running backs.

In the television station’s poll which included fan Twitter feed and voting, 42 percent of who participated felt the Jaguars star was ranked too low, 38 percent felt too high, and only 20 percent agreed that his ranking was just right.

The NFL Network panel, which included Heath Evans, LaDainian Tomlinson and Michael Silver, displayed mixed reactions. Tomlinson argued that a player of MJD's caliber should still make the list even after missing the games that he did because of how valuable he is to his team. However, the other side of the coin and the reality of the situation is that this is a "what have you done for me lately" league, and missing that many games doesn't look good.

This drastic drop in rank, a rank voted on by his peers, can be the spark that fuels the fire for a player no stranger to adversity. Initially told he was too short and too small to perform in the NFL, MJD will without a doubt have a chip on his shoulder heading into this season.

If the Jaguars can get 16 games out of him, they should be excited. Last year, even though he was injured, Jones-Drew still led the team in rushing. Despite only playing in six games, he averaged a hefty 4.8 yards per carry and still racked up enough yards to improve the most important part of the Jaguars offense.