Leonard Fournette hopes to bring the run game back to Jacksonville

It has been several seasons since the Jaguars have had a power threat out of the backfield. The Jags featured “Fragile” Fred Taylor after selecting him in the 1998 Draft. Taylor was the Jaguars go to guy until being released in 2009 after the human bowling ball, Maurice Jones-Drew, took over the Jags running game after his breakout rookie season of 2006. But that was then, and this is now.  Jones-Drew became a free agent after the 2013 season and left Jacksonville for Oakland, where he retired after the 2014 season, and Taylor is only a memory in the Jaguars’ Ring of Pride.

For the next two years after MJD’s departure, the Jaguars struggled at the running back position. They picked up injury plagued RB, Chris Ivory from the Jets in 2016, who struggled to find a consistent game. TJ Yeldon has also served the Jaguars as a versatile RB and pass catcher, and still has a lot of promise for the Jaguar faithful.

With the Leonard Fournette acquisition, the Jaguars once again have a solid, explosive back that they have sorely missed for the past few seasons since the days of their staples, Taylor and Jones-Drew. Fournette will be the Jaguars go to back this upcoming season, leaving the Jaguars’ other physical RB, Ivory, as well as the versatile Yeldon for third downs as well as in split backfield scenarios.

Fournette, selected fourth overall, was a superstar running back out of LSU. In his sophomore season of 2015, Fournette became a consensus All-American after setting single season school records for both running yards (1,953), and rushing touchdowns (22). His sophomore season would turn out to be his best however, having suffered a high ankle sprain early in his junior, and final, season only playing in seven games. Fournette joined a number of players in sitting out their team’s bowl games in order to protect themselves entering into the 2017 NFL Draft. LSU played in the Citrus Bowl against Louisville.

Fournette brings his large, linebacker like frame to a needy Jaguar backfield. His 6-foot, 240-pound frame places him in the “heavyweight” class of running backs in the league.  Fournette thrives on plowing through defenders, which is a mixed blessing as it could lead to a shortened career. His larger stature garners comparisons to Bo Jackson, and more recently, Adrian Peterson.  The Jaguars certainly hope that if he can become a fraction of what those backs meant to their respective teams, the running game of the late 90’s and early 2000’s could be back in Jacksonville.

Ed Coleman
NFL Senior Writer

Episode 2: NFL Draft Recap

Baseline Times Media brings back football and NFL chatter. This time Chevy and DeMario return with a special guest. Anna Logan from a CBS affiliate network joins us to talk the NFL Draft. Best picks, worst picks and steals of the draft are discussed. A deep conversation about the domestic violence issues in the NFL is covered from Anna’s perspective as a female.

NFL Draft First Round Highlights

Philadelphia played host to this year’s NFL draft, and boy was it an action packed first round. 32 of College Football’s brightest stars would achieve their live long dreams on Thursday night, and bring hope to their new teams. Lets just jump right in. After a bit of speculation over what’d they’d do with the first pick, the Cleveland Browns selected Myles Garrett, Defensive End from Texas A&M. It was the right move for the Browns, who would turn out not to be done form the night. Garrett had 32 tackles and 8.5 sacks last season, and has all the tools to anchor an NFL defense for years. The 2nd pick belonged to the San Francisco 49ers, but they traded it to the Chicago Bears for the 3rd overall pick, the Bears’ 3rd and 5th round picks (67th and 111th overall), and a 3rd round pick in 2018. The Bears would select Mitchell Trubisky, Quarterback from North Carolina. Only time will tell if this was a good pick or not, but at the time, it seems like a steep price for such an unprover product. The 49ers would go next and take Solomon Thomas, Defensive End from Stanford. With the 4th pick, the Jacksonville Jaguars picked up Leonard Fournette, Running Back from LSU. I like this pick for the Jags. Last year at this time, every NFL scout was salivating over Fournette, and now Jacksonville can add him to a backfield that already has TJ Held in and Chris Ivory. The Tennessee Titans would round out the top 5 by selecting Corey Davis, Wide Receiver from Western Michgan. The pick came via the Los Angeles rams as a part of last year’s Jared Goff trade.

The New York Jets took Jamal Adams, Safety out of LSU, with the 6th pick. While the Los Angeles Chargers took Clemson Wide Receiver, Mike Williams with the 7th pick. The Chargers are hoping Williams is as successful as fellow Clemson alumns DeAndre Hopkins and Sammy Watkins. With the 8th pick, the Carolina Panthers selected Christian McCaffrey, Running Back from Stanford. McCaffrey should be a nice compliment to Jonathan Stewart, and should help Carolina’s running attack. With the 9th pick, The Cincinnati Bengals took Wide Receiver John Ross from Washington. The Chiefs would trade up with the Buffalo Bills to select Patrick Mahomes, Quarterback from Texas A&M. The Bills received the Chiefs’ 1st and 3rd round picks in this years draft (27th and 91st overall) and a 1st round pick in the 2018 draft. John Gruden approves of this pick for the Chiefs!

The Saints went with Marshon Lattimore, Corner Back from Ohio State, with the 11th pick. While Clemson Quarterback, Deshaun Watson, went 12th overall like many experts had projected. However, Watson is headed to Houston, as the Texans traded their 25th overall pick in this years draft and their first round pick in next years draft, to the Cleveland Browns for the 12th pick. The pick came to the Browns via last years trade with Philadelphia for Carson Wentz. The Arizona Cardinals had the 13th pick, and they took Temple Line Backer, Haason Reddick. The hometown Philadelphia Eagles were up with the 14th pick they got from the Minnesota Vikings via the Sam Bradford trade, and they selected Tennessee Defensive End, Derek Barnett. The Indianapolis Colts selected Safety, Mailk Booker, from Ohio State with the 15th overall pick. While the Baltimore Ravens took Alabama Corner Back,  Marlon Humphrey, the round out the first half of the 1st round.

Alabama Defensive Tackle, Jonothan Allen, went to the Washington Redskins with the 17th pick. The Tennessee Titans, who were making their second selection of the 1st round, took Adored Jackson, Corner Back from USC, with the 18th pick. The 19th pick belonged to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and they took Alabama Tight End, O.J. Howard. Howard will try and fill the whole left by Austin Sefferian-Jenkins last year. The Denver Broncos took Utah Offensive Tackle, Garrett Bolles (and his well dressed son) with the 20th pick. While the Detroit Lions selected Jarred Davis, Line Backer from Florida, with the 21st pick. The Dolphins made it two Line Backers in a row when they went with Missouri’s Charles Harris, with the 22nd pick. The Giants were up at pick number 23, and they selected Tight End, Evan Engram from Ole Miss. The controversial Oakland Raiders selected equally controversial Corner Back Garcon Conley from Ohio State. Conley has been accused of rape, but no files have been charged as of this time. “Just win Baby!”….I guess.

With the 25th pick, the Cleveland Browns, who had traded down with the Houston Texans, got perhaps the biggest steal of the draft. They selected Jabril Peppers, Safety out of Michigan. Peppers had been projected to go much much higher, but a diluted urine sample at the combine in March dropped his draft stock. Its a tough break for Peppers, who lost a lot of money by dropping so far, but its a lucky break for a Browns franchise that hasn’t had too many. The Atlanta Falcons acquired the 26th pick from the Seattle Seahawks for their 1st, 3rd, and 7th round picks (31st, 95th, and 249th) in this years draft. They took Takkarist McKinley, Defensive End from UCLA. The Buffalo Bills picked 27th, with the pick they got from the Chiefs, and took Tre’Davious White, Corner Back lut of LSU. With the 28th pick, the Dallas Cowboys took Viduantae “Taco” Charlton, Defensive End from Michigan. The Cleveland Browns, who had already picked twice in the first wound weren’t done yet. They traded their 2nd and 4th round picks (33rd and 108th overall) to the Green Bay Packers for the 29th pick. They took Miami Tight End, David Njoku.

With the 30th pick, the Pittsburgh Steelers welcomed in anothe Watt brother into the NFL. This time it was Line Backer T.J. Watt put of Wisconsin. The San Francisco 49ers would trade their 2nd and 4th round picks (34th and 111th overall) to the Seattle Seahawks for the 31st pick. They took take Alabama Line Backer, Ruben Foster. At this point, San Francisco just needs to stockpile as much talents as they possibly can. The New Orleans Saints were up last in the first round, with the pick they received from the New England Patriots as part of the Brandin Cooks trade. They selected Ryan Ramczyk, Offensive Tackle from Wisconsin. So that was it. Another first round in the books. I’d have to say the big winners of the night were the Cleveland Browns. This is the first time in a long time, maybe ever that I can remember coming out of a draft and thinking the Brwons had a decent night, let alone the best night. Maybe things are finally going to change in Cleveland. They just picked up two young studs who could make them a defensive juggernaut for a long time. That’s why you have to love the draft, it brings fans and teams hope. There’s still big names left on the board like Florida State Running Back, Dalvin Cook, Alabama Offensive Tackel, Cam Robinson, and Notre Dame Quarterback, DeShone Kizer, so be sure to tune in and see where they go.

Rounds 2 and 3 of the NFL Draft start Friday at 7 pm EST on ESPN and NFL Network

Wesly Avendano
Baseline Times Staff Writer

Myles Garrett not heading to Philly for this year’s NFL Draft

Myles Garrett, the coveted defensive end out of Texas A & M, won’t be heading to Philadelphia on Draft Night, choosing to stay at home in Arlington with his family and friends.  Garrett follows the trend of NFL draftees choosing to stay home instead of going to the festivities to be held on Draft Night in Philadelphia.  This leaves whomever the San Francisco 49ers select as the second pick to be the first player to shake hands with the Commish.  Former number one overall selection, Jameis Winston, who was selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2015 NFL Draft, also chose to stay home with his family in Alabama.  In that same year, the number two overall selection, Marcus Mariotta, who was selected by the Tennessee Titans, also stayed home with family in his home state of Hawaii.

While Garrett seems to be a shoe-in as the number one overall pick, other athletes who have anticipated becoming the coveted first overall selection, have seen their share of embarrassment on Draft Night.  Geno Smith attended the draft in 2013 with high hopes of being the first to walk the stage and grab his #1 jersey, however, his draft stock fell sharply, and left him waiting around the table awkwardly until the 39th pick, landing him with the New York Jets.  This won’t be the case with Garrett, although any number of teams would celebrate him falling in their lap.

Garrett is widely projected to end up with the Cleveland Browns, however, as of 24 hours prior to the 2017 NFL Draft, sources were still reporting that the Browns may choose North Carolina Tar Heel Quarterback, Mitchell Trubisky at the first pick.  We are speaking about the Cleveland Browns though, and almost anything goes in unpredictable Cleveland.  If Cleveland were to go rogue and select Trubisky over Garrett, this could send the first round of the draft into a tailspin, or at the very least make one team extremely happy by leaving Garrett on the board.

Garrett comes from a family of athletes.  His older brother, Sean Williams, who played collegiate basketball with Boston College, went on to play in the NBA.  His older sister, Brea, was a track and field athlete with Texas A & M, is the current NCAA champion in the weight throw category.  Garrett himself, was also a track and field athlete in his high school years.

Myles Garrett’s collegiate career with Texas A & M has earned him a lot of respect and has earned him his spot on top of most analysts’ draft boards.  In just his Freshman year, Garrett broke South Carolina’s monster DL/DE, Jadeveon Clowney’s 8 sack record in his first 9 games.  He improved on his 11.5 sacks of his Freshman year by gathering 12 sacks as a Sophomore.  During his Junior, and final, season with Texas A & M, Garrett had limited duty after suffering a high ankle sprain early in the season.  His limited, but effective work, along with his remarkable Freshman and Sophomore seasons, left Garrett a Unanimous Consensus All American.

Garrett declared his intention to enter this year’s draft on New Year’s Eve of 2016.

Ed Coleman
Baseline Times Staff Writer

Ed will be keeping us posted on the Jacksonville Jaguars and Florida State Seminoles throughout the upcoming 2017 football season.

NFL Releases Full 2017 Schedule

With free agency already started and the draft on the horizon, The NFL released its 2017 regular season schedule on Thursday, reigniting hope for fans of all 32 teams. Obviously teams still have many roster moves to make, and injuries can happen at any time, so the importance of some games might change. Assuming nothing too drastic happens though, here’s a quick look at some of the big games this upcoming season. The season will kick off on Thursday, September 7th on NBC, when the Kansas City Chiefs visit the defending Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots, in what will no doubt be a boisterous Gillette Stadium. However, week 1’s marquee game doesn’t come until Sunday, September 10th on Fox, when the New York Giants visit the Dallas Cowboys. Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliot both suffered their first, and only loss for a bit, at the hands of the Giants during last season’s week one. This one should be an exciting game, like most games between the Giants and Cowboys. Week 1 wraps up on Monday, September 11th on with a Monday Night Football doubleheader on ESPN. First, the New Orleans Saints visit the Minnesota Vikings. Then, the Los Angeles Chargers (that’s going to take some getting used to) head to Denver to take on the Broncos. Not exactly the best end to what will surely be an excellent week 1, but ESPN seems to have developed a problem picking the right games to schedule on Monday nights.

Week two in the NFL gets good on Sunday, September 17th on CBS, when the New England Patriots travel to New Orleans against the Saints. New England just acquired WR Brandin Cooks from New Orleans this off season, so you can expect Cooks and Bill Belichick both to show off a bit against what will probably still be a bad Saints defense. The anyone say “playing against your former team?” Well maybe not playing, but coaching. That’ll be the case on Fox, when former Kansas City Chiefs Offensive Coordinator and current Philadelphia Eagles Head Coach, Doug Pederson, leads his new team into Arrowhead Stadium. Oh, and also, current Chiefs Head Coach, Andy Reid, used to be the Head Coach of the Eagles, and recommended the job to Pederson. Should be a fun game. The last big matchup of week 2 comes on NBC’s Sunday Night Football, as the Green Bay Packers visit the Atlanta Falcons in a rematch of last years NFC Championship game. Week 3 gets rolling on Thursday, September 21st on the NFL Network, when the Los Angeles Rams travel north to play the San Francisco 49ers. On Sunday, September 24th, week 3 gets a pair of marquee division games, both on FOX. First the New Orleans Saints take on the Carolina Panthers. Then it’s the NFC East’s turn, when the New York Giants face off against the Philadelphia Eagles. Thursday Night Football gets another big game in week 4, this time on CBS, as the Chicago Bears have a date with The Green Bay Packer in legendary Lambeau Field. Week 4’s other big game comes on Sunday, October 1st on CBS, when the Pittsburgh Steelers go to Baltimore to take on the Ravens. This game has low score and big hits written all over it.

Week five is a bit of a low point in terms of “big” matchups. The only one takes place on Sunday, October 8th on FOX, when the Green Bay Packers return to the scene of their most recent playoff win to face off against the Dallas Cowboys. After a calm week 5, week 6 gets the ball back rolling again on Thursday, October 12th on CBS, when the Philadelphia Eagles pay Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers a visit. Sunday, October 15th brings week 6’s big division match ups. First the Green Bay Packers visit the Minnesota Vikings on Fox. While on CBS, The New England Patriots travel to New York to take on the Jets. Week 7 kicks off on Thursday, October 19th on CBS, when The Kansas City Chiefs visit their division rivals the Oakland (soon to be Las Vegas) Raiders. The big division games continue on Sunday, October 22nd on NBC, when the Cincinnati Bengals travel to Heinz Field to play the Pittsburgh Steelers. These two teams straight up don’t like each other. So expect a very physical, very hard hitting game, with plenty of penalty flags being thrown. Monday Night Football finally gets another marquee game on Monday, October 23rd on ESPN, when the Washington Redskins visit the Philadelphia Eagles. Similar to week 5, week 8 doesn’t have too many games that pop out at you. However, Sunday, October 29th on FOX, the Washington Redskins go to Dallas to play the Cowboys. Then, on October 30th , Monday Night Football goes two weeks straight with a good game, as the Denver Broncos travel to Arrowhead Stadium to take on the Kansas City Chiefs.

Week nine gets a big AFC South showdown on Sunday, November 5th on CBS when Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts go to Houston to take on the Texans. Not be outdone, Fox has match up of the last two SuperBowls runner ups, when the Atlanta Falcons visit the Carolina Panthers. Three straight weeks watchable games on Monday Night Football? Somebody pinch me. Monday, November 6th on ESPN, the Detroit Lions travel to Green Bay to take on Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. Week 10 gets going on Thursday, November 9th on NBC, as the Seattle Seahawks go to Arizona to play the Cardinals. Then, the Dallas Cowboys travel to Atlanta to face the Falcons on Sunday, November 12th on FOX. November 19th sees week 11’s first big game, when the Philadelphia Eagles head to Dallas to square off against the Cowboys on NBC’s Sunday Night Football. Then, ESPN is back with another big Monday Night Football game on November 20th, as the Seattle Seahawks meet The Atlanta Falcons inside the Georgia Dome. Week 12 kicks off on Thanksgiving (November 23rd) with a smorgasbord of huge games. First, FOX has the Minnesota Vikings visiting the Detroit Lions. Then, CBS brings you what should be an entertaining game between the Los Angeles Chargers and the Dallas Cowboys from AT&T Stadium. Finally, the holiday triple header ends on NBC with the New York Giants heading to Washington to take on the Redskins. Week 12 picks right back up on Sunday, November 26th on CBS, when the New England Patriots go to Miami to play the Dolphins. NBC wraps up the week 12’s big games on Sunday Night Football, when the Green Bay Packers take on the Steelers in Pittsburgh.

On Thursday, November 30th, CBS gets week 13 rolling, when the Washington Redskins visit the Dallas Cowboys. Sunday, December 3rd on FOX, the Carolina Panthers travel to New Orleans for a shootout with the Saints. While the December 4th edition of ESPN’s Moday Night Football will bring us the final regular season game between the Pittsburgh Steelers ad Cincinnati Bengals, from Cincinnati. Thursday Night Football hosts one of week 14’s big games on December 7th on NBC, when the New Orleans Saints head to Atlanta to take on the Falcons. Sunday December 10th has week 14’s other two big match ups. Firs, the Oakland raiders visit the Kansas City Chiefs on CBS. Then on FOX, the Dallas Cowboys take on the New York Giants, in New York. Week 15 has all its good games on Sunday December 17th. First, the Green Bay Packers visit the Carolina Panthers, and The Philadelphia Eagles head to New York to face the Giants, both games on FOX. Then, CBS has the New England Patriots traveling to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers, in what will probably be a highly anticipated game. Christmas Eve (December 24th) will see some good games as part of the week 16 action. On CBS, The Buffalo Bills will face off with the New England Patriots in Foxborough. Fox will have the showdown between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Carolina Panthers, from Bank Of America Stadium. Then, the Seattle Seahawks travel to Dallas to take on the Cowboys, also on FOX. Week 17’s games are a bit too unpredictable to preview. Some teams will be playing for their playoff lives, while other will rest their important players to avoid injury, so who knows what that will bring.

So there it is. A quick look at the 2017 NFL regular season. Again, please remember that the draft and remaining free agents, along with any injuries that happen during the season, can alter the “box office appeal”of any given game. For now though, all of us can sit around and fantasize about our favorite team’s upcoming season, because as of now we’re all tied at 0-0.

Wesly Avendano
Baseline Time Staff Writer