Lost in the shadow of a dominant defensive performance, Jacksonville Jaguars rookie Leonard Fournette had a terrific debut performance.
When the Jacksonville Jaguars selected LSU star running back Leonard Fournette with the 4th overall pick of the 2017 draft, it meant one thing – they were going to run the football a lot in 2017.
That narrative came to fruition on Sunday, as Leonard Fournette was the unquestioned driver on an offense set to cruise control in a 29-7 beatdown of the Houston Texans. Fournette cracked 100 yards on the ground with 26 rushes and tacked on three receptions as well.
From a purely statistical standpoint, Fournette didn’t have quite as illustrious a day as someone like Kareem Hunt of the Kansas City Chiefs, but he might have had the best tape of any rookie in the entire league.
"4. LEONARD FOURNETTE, RB, JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS(Overall grade: 81.1; season snap count: 39)Fournette only carried the ball nine times this preseason but even on just those carries there was some reason for concern, as he failed to force a single missed tackle and averaged just 0.89 yards after contact per carry. Fournette looked much more like the force that ran over SEC defenders though for years at LSU in Week 1, ranking 14th among running backs this week with a 45.1 elusive rating; he forced five missed tackles on 29 touches and his 2.62 yards after contact per attempt ranked 10th. Fournette also demonstrated some ability as a pass-catcher, his average of 4.0 yards per route run ranked third among HBs."
Fournette’s ability to catch the ball out of the backfield was an interesting wrinkle on offense last week and it should be an even bigger part of the offense with Allen Robinson out for the year. Fournette showed soft hands and elusiveness, and he was a shoelace tackle away from taking a short dump off for a massive gain.
While the offensive line played well, Fournette still had to manufacture a lot of the yards on his own and he was singe-handedly responsible for powering through a mass of humanity on his goalline touchdown.
Expect to see Fournette on this list weekly.