With all eyes on their new braintrust, the Jacksonville Jaguars made their first big move under VP Tom Coughlin by selecting Leonard Fournette in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft.
Despite addressing a handful of needs in free agency with some high-profile signings, the Jacksonville Jaguars still have holes to fill on both sides of the ball. With almost no certainty about how the first few picks would play out, it’s been hard trying to predict which direction the Jaguars would go.
We got our answer on Thursday night when the Jaguars selected Leonard Fournette.
There was plenty of drama after the first pick of the draft, with the San Francisco 49ers fleecing the Chicago Bears out of several picks just to move up one spot. The Bears apparently fooled everyone, as they had their eyes on their own franchise quarterback – Mitchell Trubisky.
The 49ers subsequently chose Solomon Thomas out of LSU, leaving the Jaguars in a good spot. They could have gone for a defensive player by taking Jonathan Allen, or they could have sent a message by taking Deshaun Watson, but instead they decided to double down on Blake Bortles and help him out.
Leonard Fournette was the consensus top running back in the draft coming out of LSU, and his bruising, downhill running style likely means the Jaguars will be in the I-formation plenty of times in 2017. The prevailing logic in the selection follows what led the Dallas Cowboys to so much success in 2016 – take the pressure off the quarterback with a solid and consistent running game.
In his fourth season, Blake Bortles will now have no excuses if he can’t put it together and have a solid year. The Jaguars need to win now and this selection clearly shows they think Bortles gives them the best chance of doing that.
Welcome to Jacksonville Leonard – now go run some people over.