Leonard Fournette is an angry young running back. Not because he was chosen fourth overall by the Jaguars. No, that has nothing to do with it. Angry is just how Fournette plays the game.
“He’s as angry a running back as I’ve seen since Adrian Peterson,’’ NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said after the Jags grabbed the LSU standout with their first pick in the 2017 NFL Draft on Thursday.
That pick was clearly the “right pick,’’ for the Jaguars, according to Mayock, who believes the Jags top priority going into the draft was to find support elements for quarterback Blake Bortles.
Grabbing Fournette achieved that objective, and it likely means a major shift in offensive philosophy is at hand for the Jaguars, who threw the ball on 62.7-percent of their offensive plays last year.
Only six teams threw the ball more than the Jags in 2016, which suggests they were putting way too much pressure on a young quarterback who was struggling to keep his mechanics in order, which Bortles was.
Bortles is looking for a bounce-back year after regressing last season and while there’s still a chance the Jaguars will add a quarterback to possibly replace him, the addition of Fournette will help.
“We need to do something about balance,’’ Jaguars executive vice president of football operations Tom Coughlin said after making the pick. “We need to do something about creating a better situation where the quarterback doesn’t have the entire game on his shoulders.’’
Coughlin was speaking primarily about taking some heat off Bortles as a passer but you can also make the argument the Jaguars need to take some heat off him as a runner as well, especially near the goal line.
The Jaguars have run for only 13 touchdowns the last two years combined and five of those came on designed runs or scrambles by Bortles. Fournette? He ran for 40 touchdowns during his three years at LSU.
Yes, a big change is coming in Jacksonville, It’s about time.