Throughout last season, Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette appeared to do everything right. The former LSU tailback came into training camp in shape, and ready to roll, and parleyed that into the best season of his short NFL career.
Now entering this year’s offseason, the Jaguars are looking at add talent around not only quarterback Gardner Minshew II, but also Fournette himself. While the Jaguars have capable players in receivers DJ Chark Jr., Chris Conley, Dede Westbrook, and Keelan Cole, there are still plenty of pieces that could use some shuffling — likely taking place in this year’s upcoming draft.
During an Instagram Live session with his former college teammate and current Buffalo Bills cornerback Tre’Davious White, Fournette spoke on what he wants to accomplish moving forward in his career, still training even through an on-going pandemic caused by the coronavirus, which leads to a deadly disease known as Covid-19.
#Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette last night on Instagram Live with Bills CB Tre'Davious White:— Demetrius Harvey (@Demetrius82) April 9, 2020
'I think some people gonna be surprised (about Jacksonville) next year' pic.twitter.com/eggEv1vZwT
“Especially with all the (stuff) that’s going on right now, I still want to be considered as one of the best,” Fournette told White along with the audience of nearly two thousand participants. “And I know I’m gonna get that for sure. I think (stuff) just takes time. So I gotta keep working hard, what I’m doing just like last year.”
Last year Fournette rushed for 1,152 yards and three touchdowns on 265 carries, along with 76 receptions for 522 yards. All in all, Fournette played on 83% of the team’s offensive snaps, missing only one game — the final game of the 2019 season.
The Jaguars will need to find outlets that go away from Fournette, while still allowing him to be the featured back that he is.
Potential draft selections of Alabama receiver Jerry Jeudy, Oklahoma receiver Ceedee Lamb, or Alabama receiver Harry Ruggs — the top three wide receivers entering the draft this year —, would allow the Jaguars to do much more on offense rather than relying on Fournette for the bulk of the offensive production.
While the Jaguars have only won 11 games since making the AFC Title game in 2017, Fournette still has confidence in the organization, enough to perhaps surprise people this upcoming season.
“I do believe the Jaguars are gonna put a couple pieces around me, try to get everything going. We have a great quarterback [Gardner] Minshew, we got DJ [Chark], we got Dede [Westbrook], we gonna put some pieces together with our line, we have tight ends,” said Fournette. “I think some people gonna be surprised next year.”
Time will tell whether or not the Jaguars will be a surprise worst-to-first team this season, but they do have the draft capital to make serious moves. With 12 selections in the draft, the Jaguars will have plenty of flexibility to make trades, or nearly any move they’d like, especially early on.
The 2020 NFL Draft will take place from April 23rd through the 25th, completely virtually, which will be another hurdle for the franchise, along with the entire NFL, to get over.