For the sake of argument, lets all assume the Jacksonville Jaguars select LSU runningback Leonard Fournette with the No. 4 overall pick. He's the overwhelming favorite among mock drafters, a ton of Jaguars fans want him and the Jaguars need to upgrade their running game. Fournette is a very good player, but if the Jaguars are going to make that selection, which we're assuming they are for this exercise, they're going to have to commit to Fournette the player.
Fournette is going to need a pretty solid offensive line in the NFL to be his most effective, which is something the current Jaguars team does not have. I do think the offensive line is much better than it's given credit for, but they still need to add talent to it, especially if they're going to be leaning on the run game, which a Fournette pick would seem to imply. Fournette is the type of back you want to make sure he hits the second level and gets those 1-on-1 matchups with linebackers and defensive backs. You want him on those sweep plays getting it to the outside so he can hit that second gear and pick up chunks of yards.
I believe that if the plan is to pick and feature Fournette, the Jaguars almost force their hand into picking an offensive lineman with their second round pick. This is the idea that most fans have anyway and I even picked Taylor Moton in the second round of the SBNation Blogger Mock Draft, but I think the selection of Fournette essentially means you have to make that pick to ensure the success of your first round pick. Obviously if there's a run on offensive lineman and there isn't a good one left by pick 35 you don't force the pick, but if you have similarly graded players, I would think you'd have to lean to the offensive lineman. You don't want your season to hinge on a second round offensive lineman, but you want to set yourself up for the best possible success, and the selection of Fournette signals they plan to try to grind out football games.
We've discussed before that Fournette is more of a fit in a power running scheme with the quarterback under center, rather than in shotgun formations. In order to do this, you're going to need to have a fullback (check) and have some maulers on the offensive line. You're likely going to line up in more 21 personnel (two backs, one tight end) with Blake Bortles under center and running boots and play action. All of that sounds like it could work and you'd be forced to rotate your wide receivers more than playing three-wide most of the time and go away from the style that Doug Marrone, Nathaniel Hackett and even Tom Coughlin have run on offense in the past, but it also means Bortles is going to have to be exceptionally efficient on his passes.
And here is Jacksonville (for Fournette crowd). Jump from #30 in '16 to #8 in '17 = toughest in NFL. Blending 3 RB stats, 6th toughest v '16 pic.twitter.com/5Rf442q1r5— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) April 18, 2017
The Jaguars have the type of defense to grind out football games like this, the big question is will they have the offense to do that, even with the pick of Fournette. The Jaguars actually face a much stiffer run defense on the 2017 season, just overall, compared to the 2016 season. They'll need to efficiently pass the football and pick up yards on the ground. If the plan is to do that with Leonard Fournette, which all signs point to right now, you almost have to pick an offensive lineman in the second round.