Does Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette deserve the criticism he has gotten from many angles this offseason?
The Jacksonville Jaguars front office has shopped Leonard Fournette the entire offseason. He has little, if any, respect from the fan base, management, and coaches. His statistics, however, prove he is a solid running back.
Fournette has played for the Jaguars for three years. He has accumulated 2,631 yards rushing and 1,009 receiving. This gives him 3,640 total yards in his career or an average of 1,215 yards per year. He is rated by most as the 10th best running back in the NFL.
This may seem unimpressive but he is by far our highest ranked offensive player according to fantasyfootballers.org. Wide receiver DJ Chark is ranked 22nd and Chris Conley is 50th. Beloved quarterback Gardner Minshew is 23rd. There is no doubt there are running backs with higher numbers. Backs with higher numbers per year, but just remember he is at least ranked.
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One of the issues frequently mentioned by critics is he was a high draft choice and should do more. Bear in mind he didn’t draft himself but was drafted by Jaguars management. Another criticism is his style as a runner doesn’t fit the modern NFL. The team had ample time prior to the draft to study him on film.
Leonard Fournette is a power back and runs best with a lead blocker. The organization had to know that. Another criticism is his “bad attitude” as described by his lack of attention to the game by former vice-president of football operations Tom Coughlin. However, in his defense, he continued to play while running into an eight-man line with no lead blocker and a suspect offensive line.
This was an injury waiting to happen.
"Fournette has eight 100-yard rushing games in his career. Per Jaguars.com, “He has posted 17 career games with at least 100 scrimmage yards, the most through 36 career games in franchise history. He joins Fred Taylor as the only players in Jaguars history to register multiple 1,000- yard rushing seasons through their first three years in the NFL.”"
Finally he is one of seven NFL backs to gain 1,000 yards rushing and 75 receptions in a single season during the past eight seasons.
Another problem for Leonard Fournette and other Jaguars players is some find their way to the team’s doghouse and have problems getting out. This became a very public issue. The results may have had an impact on whether the front office was able to trade him during the NFL Draft.
Dante Fowler is considered a draft bust by many in Jaguars nation but he was ranked as the 20th defensive end after the 2020 season. By the way, Yannick Ngakoue another player who has had issues with the front office the past two seasons is ranked 16th. Jalen Ramsey went from hero to horrible in a few months.
In my opinion, the Jaguars have issues with certain players. These players are first of all very young. They have been adored and pampered from a very young age because of their talent. Many come into the NFL with large egos but most mature into grown men if given time.
Finally, Fournette hasn’t been surrounded by a talent-rich team. His first two years were with quarterback Blake Bortles. Our wide receivers have been young, but have not approached a top-level group. There was no tight end to speak of, and no fullback in 2019. the team played with a low-rated offensive line.
Let’s cut Leonard Fournette a little slack and hope he will continue to produce in 2020.