The Jaguars rookie running back Leonard Fournette entered his NFL career with extremely high expectations, both internal and external. That comes with the territory when you're a former number one player coming out of high school and a the fourth overall pick in the NFL Draft. Leonard Fournette is used to the pressure by now, in fact he embraces it.
After just one preseason game Fournette told the media the NFL 'is a lot slower' than he thought it would be. Some took offense to the rookie making such a bold statement after just one meaningless preseason game. So far, it looks like Leonard Fournette's stance on the matter was pretty accurate.
Fournette is having an incredibly impressive rookie season. Through five weeks he's even outshined what Jaguars legends Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew were able to do in their rookie seasons. He's now on pace to score 19 TDs in 2017, which would break the Jaguars single season record for total TDs - a record set by Hall of Fame nominee Fred Taylor back in 1998, his rookie season. If Fournette continues at this pace, he'll finish his rookie year with the third most TDs by a rookie EVER, trailing only Eric Dickerson and Gale Sayers. He's also on pace to rush for over 1,400 yards in 2017, which would be the third highest season total by a Jaguar.
His numbers are impressive - shocking even, when you consider just how he's doing it. The Jaguars passing offense is virtually non existent, which allows defenses to stack the box against LF27. And to this point it hasn't mattered. Fournette has broken defenses with his patience, physicality, and agility. But in week five he showed why he was one of the best running back prospects to ever enter the NFL - his long speed.
Many wrote off the idea of drafting a running back with the fourth overall pick off as a dumb decision, with so much talent at the position in the 2017 Draft, but I was on record defending the idea. You see, the thing that separates Leonard Fournette from other backs in this year's draft class, or any draft class for that matter, is his combination of traits. Many runners have great speed. Many runners have good vision, agility, and power. But few backs in the history of this game have the true power and speed that Leonard Fournette possess. The way he was able to break away from the fastest players on the field for the Steelers once he hit the second level on his 90 yard run Sunday was truly remarkable. To see a 230 man that is known for running through defenders, also be able to run away from everyone on the field and sustain a blistering top speed is a rare sight. His combination of elite traits make him a threat every time he touches the ball - we've now seen him beat defenses in every way possible and he's just getting started.
Fournette is off to a fantastic start to his NFL career. Will the magic continue for Fournette and the Jaguars? Stay tuned!
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