Because he’s a back of a certain size, there’s a temptation to turn Leonard Fournette into just a power back. And he is one of those.
But Jaguars veteran tight end Marcedes Lewis said that Fournette made an immediate impression during the unpadded work so far, and put his name next to a Jaguars legend (they’re old enough to have legends, right?).
Originally, when we drafted [Fournette], 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,” Lewis said, via NFL.com. “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.
“I think we have a great scheme in place for him to come in and just plug and play. And I think he’s going to fit great with our offense. He brings back that old-school feel, like back when we had Fred Taylor, and we were able to run the ball, possess the ball, play-action pass, take shots down the field. It’s going to help Blake [Bortles], so I’m looking forward to that.”
If Fournette can have a Taylor-like effect, he should look forward to it.
Taylor’s probably one of the more underrated runners of the last 20 years. In his 11 seasons with the Jaguars, Taylor finished with 11,271 yards, topped 1,000 yards in seven seasons, and he averaged 4.6 yards per carry. He also was the main cog in an offense which featured a good-not-great quarterback (Mark Brunell) but had very good receivers (Keenan McCardell and Jimmy Smith).
Bortles has some work to do before he reaches the level of good-not-great, but the Jaguars have the other offensive skill pieces in place. And if Fournette can indeed contribute the way Taylor did for more than a decade, they might finally deliver on the potential they’ve teased with for the last few years.