A multitude of options are available to the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2017 NFL Draft, but running back Leonard Fournette would hae the biggest impact.
The Jacksonville Jaguars hold the fourth overall selection in the 2017 NFL Draft next Thursday, and there are many ways they could go about this pick. Out of the top three defensive lineman, Myles Garrett, Jonathan Allen, and Solomon Thomas, one will most likely be available when the Jaguars are selecting.
That said, no matter who is available for the Jaguars to pick at number four overall, they should draft Louisiana State running back Leonard Fournette.
The former number one recruit out of high school has been a defense crusher his entire life. At St. Augustine High School, Fournette rushed for 5036 yards and 62 touchdowns, averaging an astounding 9.8 yards per carry. He followed that up at Louisiana State University, rushing for 3,830 yards and 40 touchdowns, averaging 6.2 yards per carry. It’s worth noting that this was done in the SEC, one of, if not, the hardest conference in all of college football. He performed at a high level whether completely healthy or playing through injury.
Many Jaguars fans are hesitant to the idea of taking a running back so high and reliving some draft busts that have occurred in the past such as Trent Richardson. When you really look into it, there have been many successful running backs taken in the top 10.
Ezekiel Elliot, Todd Gurley, Mark Ingram, Adrian Peterson, and Ladanian Tomilson have all been drafted in the top 10 the last 15 years. Elliot is the latest example, being drafted number four overall by the Dallas Cowboys last year. He helped bring the Cowboys from a team in the cellar of the NFL to being a top contender in one year. This type of offense resurgence is something the Jacksonville Jaguars need. The Cowboys, of course, had the best offensive line in football, but talent should not be denied purely because all of the pieces are not (yet) in place.
Looking at the Jaguars roster, the team is pretty much locked in on defense besides adding another pass rusher. Calais Campbell, Malik Jackson, Yannick Ngakoue, Dante Fowler Jr., Abry Jones and Sheldon Day make up a young, strong defensive line for the Jaguars.
The back seven is also loaded for the Jags. Myles Jack, Paul Posluszny and Telvin Smith will get the most reps at linebacker, Jalen Ramsey, A.J. Bouye and Aaron Colvin make a strong cornerback trio, and Barry Church and Tashaun Gipbson are a nice safety duo. The defense, which was ranked in the top-10 in yards allowed last year, improved a lot and the Jaguars shouldn’t need to draft heavy on defense at all this year. With quality depth at the position in every round, the team can find a fit whenever they desire.
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On offense, the Jags are set at the quarterback position, giving Blake Bortles another shot this year. Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns, and Marqise Lee make a strong wide receiver trio, and while tight end could be addressed later in the draft, it’s not a position commonly drafted in the top five. The offensive line is average and will also be addressed at some point in the draft, but it is one of the weakest classes for offensive lineman in recent memory. Last but not least, the running back position is the one position, in my opinion, the Jaguars really need to upgrade. Chris Ivory and T.J. Yeldon were both inconsistent last year and were hampered with injuries. Drafting a workhorse like Leonard Fournette that opposing defenses have to game plan for will not only help Blake Bortles and the offense, but the entire team succeed.
The Jaguars need to draft Leonard Fournette and fill the hole at running back in order to have a better offense and team that is hopefully playing in January.