The Jacksonville Jaguars have high hopes for Leonard Fournette as a rookie, and NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks agrees according to his statistical projections.
After taking Leonard Fournette with the 4th overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft, the Jacksonville Jaguars made it clear that they wanted to become a running team. With Blake Bortles still struggling to find his footing as a franchise quarterback, the best chance for the Jaguars to become relevant again is on the back of Fournette.
While many expect Fournette to come in and immediately produce, it’s difficult in today’s NFL to pin down hard statistical predictions. Fournette should get plenty of carries, but he might have to split some of the workload with Chris Ivory and T.J. Yeldon.
Bucky Brooks of NFL.com recently put out his statistical projections for key rookies and he has some pretty loft expectations for the former LSU star.
"Leonard Fournette, RB, Jacksonville JaguarsNo. 4 overall pick, Round 1, LSUBest-case scenario: The Jaguars dream of their rookie runner having an Ezekiel Elliott-like impact on the offense from Day 1. Fournette’s violent running style and big-play ability could give the offense a rough-and-rugged identity while alleviating the pressure on Blake Bortles to carry the unit. With Doug Marrone intent on jamming the ball down opponents’ throats with a powerful running game, it’s certainly not out of the realm of possibility that Fournette finishes the season as the NFL’s leading rusher.Worst-case scenario: The Jaguars’ desire to run the ball at will hinges on an offensive line littered with question marks on the edges, due to Branden Albert‘s apparent contract dissatisfaction and rookie Cam Robinson’s inexperience. If the team’s new bookends fail to deliver and allow opponents to crash off the edges, the Jaguars’ shiny new toy might not be able to put the offense on his back despite his immense talent and potential.Projected stats: 1,150 rushing yards, 10 touchdowns; 15 receptions for 150 yards."
Brooks isn’t going out on a limb with his two scenarios, but his actual statistical projections are fascinating. The Jaguars haven’t had a 1,000 yard rusher since Maurice Jones-Drew, and 10 rushing touchdowns would be more than the entire team had last year (8) and more than Jaguars running backs have had over the last two seasons combined (8).
Putting the team’s historical ineptness aside, that’s a lot to expect out of a rookie running back. If Fournette produces those numbers, the Jaguars will flirt with 9 or 10 wins.
What are your predictions for Fournette in 2017?