Leonard Fournette: Overrated or just an average running back?

Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette raises eyebrows when talking about how successful he can be in the NFL.

I don’t know if I would call Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette overrated, but I do agree he has some work to do this season despite having the best year if his young career in 2019.

The assessment of Fournette, who at times looked pedestrian in his running style, is fair because of a lack of cohesion of the Jacksonville Jaguars offensive line last season. Matt Connor of FanSided.com points out Fournette may have established a career-high in rushing yards last season for the 6-10 Jaguars, but he must do more this coming campaign.

“Even after his most successful season to date in the NFL, the reality is that Leonard Fournette has largely proven to be a bust as a former top-four pick overall for the Jaguars,” he writes.

“Last season, [Leonard] Fournette rushed for over 1,100 yards but he was 26th in yards/carry (4.3) and even worse in more precise metrics. No one had more rushes for 3.0 yards or less than Fournette (171). There’s a reason the Jags tried to trade him (and could not).”

And there is a reason to believe he will not be part of the Jacksonville Jaguars game plan after 2020.

Unless he finds the end zone more, is able to find that burst of speed he showed from time to time last year and can continue to remain part of the team’s passing game in a new system run by Jay Gruden. Given there is now a change in offensive philosophy in Jacksonville, and more of a commitment to Gardner Minshew and the passing game, the deck is a bit stacked against Fournette.

Leonard Fournette led the Jaguars in receptions last season with 76 as he became more of a dual-threat out of the backfield and also become the team’s third-down option.

The Jacksonville Jaguars front office did make some changes to the running back room this off-season. Chris Thompson was signed as a free agent after the NFL draft to add a change of pace back to the group. He is quite familiar with Gruden’s offense from their time together in Washington.

Second-year running back Ryquell Armstead figures to get more carries and should remain the team’s second option in the running game.

The team had a middle of the pack running game that finished 16th in the NFL last year. That needs to change if nothing more than to help Minshew have more time on the field.