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With the Jaguars — barring a trade — picking fifth overall in the 2016 NFL Draft, the Times-Union chose our five best and five worst players taken at that spot in the modern draft era, which began in 1970.
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DB MIKE HAYNES (1976)

Team: New England

Why: Haynes was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1997 after a 14-year career. Considered an elite cover cornerback, he was named a First-Team All-Pro member twice while intercepting 46 passes and going to nine Pro Bowls. He picked off a pass to help the Raiders win Super Bowl XVIII in 1984 and was named a member of the 1980s All-Decade Team.

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CB DEION SANDERS (1989)

Team: Atlanta

Why: Sanders was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2011 after one of the most electrifying NFL careers ever. He was named a First-Team All-Pro member six times and voted to the Pro Bowl eight times during a 14-year career as a cornerback/receiver/returner in which he intercepted 53 passes (returning nine for touchdowns), scored nine touchdowns off punt/kickoff returns and added three receiving scores and a fumble return for a touchdown. He was named to the 1990s All-Decade Team, voted Defensive Player of the Year in 1994 and won two Super Bowls while setting the standard for what a multi-talented player looks like.

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LB JUNIOR SEAU (1990)

Team: San Diego

Why: Seau is widely considered one of the toughest and most passionate linebackers ever and was voted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2015. In 20 seasons, he recorded 56.5 sacks and 18 interceptions while earning six First-Team All-Pro selections and being voted to 12 Pro Bowls. Seau was named to the 1990s All-Decade Team. His suicide has garnered much attention given the increased focus on the possible link between playing football and suffering brain damage.

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RB JAMAL LEWIS (2000)

Team: Baltimore

Why: As a rookie, Lewis helped the Ravens win Super Bowl XXXV in 2001, but his 2003 season is considered one of the best by a running back. He finished the year with 2,066 yards — currently the third most in a single season behind Eric Dickerson (1984) and Adrian Peterson (2012) — while maintaining a 5.3 yards-per-carry average with 14 touchdowns. He was selected as a First-Team All-Pro and voted to the Pro Bowl for the only time in his career after that season. Lewis never hit that peak again but did rush for at least 1,000 yards in seven of his nine seasons in the league and finished with 10,607 yards. He was named to the 2000s All-Decade Team.

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RB LADAINIAN TOMLINSON (2001)

Team: San Diego

Why: Tomlinson was one of the most productive running backs during the 2000s, particularly when he rushed for 1,815 yards and 28 touchdowns (a single-season record) during his MVP season in 2006. That was the first of consecutive rushing titles for Tomlinson, who retired with 13,684 career rushing yards over 11 seasons, good for the fifth-most yardage of all time behind Curtis Martin, Barry Sanders, Walter Payton and Emmitt Smith. Tomlinson finished with 145 rushing touchdowns (second to Smith’s 164) and 162 total touchdowns (third behind Smith’s 175 and Jerry Rice’s 208). He was a First-Team All-Pro selection three times and went to five Pro Bowls. He was named to the 2000s All-Decade Team.

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Here are our five worst No. 5 picks in NFL draft history.
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LB MIKE JUNKIN (1987)

Team: Cleveland

Why: After finishing his Duke career as the school’s all-time leading tackler with 513, Junkin lasted just three seasons in the league, playing in 20 games and making seven starts. He struggled to adapt to the outside linebacker position in the NFL and battled injuries for most of his brief career. A trade to the Kansas City Chiefs did nothing to help his career.

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LB TREV ALBERTS (1994)

Team: Indianapolis

Why: Alberts was one of the most dominant linebackers in Nebraska history, including a stellar three-sack performance in a losing effort against Florida State in the national championship game following the 1993 season. But his professional career was derailed by injuries. He played in parts of three seasons with the Colts, making seven starts. Alberts totaled 49 tackles, one interception and four sacks before retiring prior to the 1997 season.

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DE CEDRIC JONES (1996)

Team: New York Giants

Why: A vision problem in one eye limited how effective Jones could be, and he got off to a slow start in his professional career. He was used in a reserve role his first three seasons before starting all 16 his final two years in the league. He finished with 15 career sacks — all of which came in his last three seasons. He retired prior to the 2001 season without ever establishing himself as an impact player minus his 7.5-sack year in 1999 when he also forced five fumbles.

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RB CURTIS ENIS (1998)

Team: Chicago

Why: The Bears have a history with terrific running backs (Gale Sayers, Walter Payton, Matt Forte), but Enis was late to training camp as a rookie, slowed by a debilitating knee injury early in his career and washed out of the league by the 2001 season. In three seasons with the Bears, he totaled 1,497 yards and four touchdowns on a 3.3 yards-per-carry average. He signed with the Cleveland Browns prior to the 2001 season but never played another down.

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WR JUSTIN BLACKMON (2012)

Team: Jaguars

Why: He hasn’t played since October 2013 because of an indefinite suspension for substance abuse. Blackmon was arrested for the fourth time in five years in December 2015. That came after Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell said earlier in the year that football did not seem to be a priority for Blackmon. He was generally productive for the team when he was available — 93 catches, 1,280 yards and six touchdowns in 20 games, but his inability to stay on the field, or in good standing with the league, has wasted Blackmon’s talent.

Description

With the Jaguars — barring a trade — picking fifth overall in the 2016 NFL Draft, the Times-Union chose our five best and five worst players taken at that spot in the modern draft era, which began in 1970. 

Photos by Times-Union and Associated Press