The Jacksonville Jaguars rode rookie running back Leonard Fournette a lot last season and he was able to grind out a lot of yards. Here and there there were some explosive runs by Fournette, but a lot of it was grinder yards, which wasn’t what most expected when the team picked him fourth overall in the 2017 NFL Draft. While it was known Fournette could grind out yards, I don’t think that’s what people thought the team was getting.
Fournette played around 235-240 pounds last season, which seems huge for a running back but Fournette is rare in that he’s huge and still fast when he’s able to pick up steam. Thankfully, it sounds like he’s coming in quite a bit lighter this season.
″I feel like I play my best at that weight – 223, 224 – that’s what I played in college,″ Fournette told John Reid of The Florida Times-Union. ″Why not? I don’t want to be average. I want to be above average, be the greatest one to play this game. I feel lighter, quicker and I have a lot of my burst.″
Fournette averaged just 3.9 yards per carry during the regular season and his average dumped further down in the playoffs, which isn’t a surprise. Most teams defended the Jaguars in forcing them to throw the ball, hoping to turn their offense into what it was for the Buffalo Bills game, which is Blake Bortles having to do everything himself.
If cutting 10 pounds helps improve Fournette’s burst in that it improves his yards per carry even just slightly, it can make a huge difference. I tend to think the addition of free agent signing Andrew Norwell will help more than Fournette dropping 10 pounds from his frame, but it certainly isn’t going to hurt him. Even coming in at 225 pounds is on the bigger side for an NFL running back.