Leonard Fournette has been typecast as a power back, but he can be so much more for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Rookie Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette was typecast in the 2017 NFL Draft process, just like his peers. Fournette was the power back because he ran people over in college. Christian McCaffrey was the pass-catching threat because he was shifty and, well, caught passes.
In the minds of fans, those types of labels stuck. It was easier to differentiate between players if the highlights led to an easy-to-understand narrative.
And with bulldozing runs, who can blame fans for getting excited about a power back like Fournette?
Buying into those one-sided approaches to a player is a disservice to them. It is also a lazy way of thinking about a player.
Because of the narrative surrounding him, Fournette has continually “surprised” through the offseason with his ability to be more than just a power back. First it was with his hands, a revelation that came out of an OTA press conference from head coach Doug Marrone.
Now, it appears that Fournette’s movement and footwork is gaining attention. Tight end Marcedes Lewis was surprised:
I thought he was going to be one of those guys that really would show up when we put pads on, but this guy is fast. He’s big, has good footwork and great vision, and he’s doing all of that without even having pads on. And you know what type of runner he is when he does have pads on.
Being big and having good footwork don’t always go hand in hand for NFL running backs, but it is the prototypical ideal. Players like Fred Taylor and Adrian Peterson fit that mold and encapsulate the capitalization of that physical size and speed blend that makes running backs like that so valuable.
They are complete players at their positions. Fournette has not proven himself to be in the same conversation (yet) despite continual comparisons. He still has to step on the football field with pads and show he can be fast, powerful, block, and catch. He has to be the total package.
And the reports coming out continue to feed a new narrative that maybe, just maybe, he actually is. Fournette is looking more and more like a player that is not simply a bulldozer. Don’t be surprised if he looks more like Taylor than Jamal Lewis 2.0.