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