The Jacksonville Jaguars running backs are still a question mark

The Jacksonville Jaguars didn’t make a splashy addition to their running back room in the NFL Draft even when they added players in all other positions.

The Jacksonville Jaguars didn’t choose a running back in the draft, but the front office tried to shop our best running back, Leonard Fournette the entire offseason.  Finally, they added a free agent, Chris Thompson who has a significant injury history and insignificant NFL stats.

These issues make me wonder what the front office is thinking.

To start, let’s look at our best running back. I don’t understand why they tried to trade Fournette. Luckily, it was not successful. Joshua Walker, one of my colleagues here at Black and Teal, had an answer.

“It wasn’t for lack of trying on the Jacksonville Jaguars part, it appears they have been the ones reaching out to teams throughout the league since the combine,” he wrote.

It makes little sense to me. He has done well on the field for the Jacksonville Jaguars two of the past three years. Last season he proved to be remarkably durable considering the fact that he has been run into an eight-man line more than any other back in the league.

We have a new offensive coordinator now in Jay Gruden and I hope he will look at Fournette’s skill set and use a blocker in front of him and take advantage of his pass-catching skills.

Next, I wonder why, if they don’t like Fournette, they didn’t pick up a runner in the draft.  There were many backs available. No need to belabor this point but it is a logical question.

Another question is Thompson.  Why would they choose a 29-year-old, unimpressive, oft-injured free agent with a questionable Jaguars offensive line to block for him?  He is 5’ 8” and weighs 195 pounds. He has been in the NFL since he was drafted in 2013 in the fifth round.

I must be missing something because he is a former Washington Redskin player under Gruden. He has been used as a return specialist but it’s probably not a great idea at his age. He may be a decent change of pace back.

Moving on down the depth chart, there are some other Jacksonville Jaguars running backs to look at. Ryquell  Armstead appears to have similar skills to Fournette. He was used sparingly in 2019 but could be a factor in 2020. He had an impressive Combine performance which led to the  Jaguars selecting him in the fifth round of the draft.

Another player to watch is Devine Ozigbo. He was a free agent in 2019.  The Jacksonville Jaguars claimed him off waivers from the New Orleans Saints at the beginning of the 2019 season. He had very little actual game experience with 27 rushing yards and 23 receiving yards in his one and only game.

An interesting running back to watch is James Robinson an undrafted rookie from Illinois State.  He had a great college career and was selected as an  All Missouri Valley Football Conference First-Team running back for three years.  He had an incredible 4,444 rushing yards during his career.

Potential?  I think so.

There are several other running backs on the team but, to me, these are the most likely candidates to remain come September. So this is our running back group.  With the exception of Fournette, they are an unknown commodity.

Can this group be successful?  If Fournette is used correctly, if Thompson remains healthy, and if Armstead and/or Ozigbo steps it up. Also, if Robinson looks anything like he did in college it could be a very good group.

Next: What the Draft tells us about the Jaguars running backs

 

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