Jacob's wasted Candidates

I've just been wondering about the whole candidacy thing to take over Jacob's role as Island Protector. If it took Jacob's death to finally allow a vacancy for a potential candidate to ascend to his position and from the bearings on the compass in Jacob's lighthouse there have been(at least) 360 candidates with only our 6 lostie candidates remaining then what was the purpose of the other 350 or so candidates over the previous hundreds of years when Jacob was alive and well and as such there was no position to fill. Were they brought to the island by Jacob for nothing? Were they safeguards in case of MIB finding his loophole? If a worthy successor was found would Jacob have simply stepped down? MIB did comment to Sawyer in the cave how many lives Jacob had wasted. Thoughts anyone?

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