Analyst worried about Leonard Fournette's fit in Jacksonville
Former LSU running back Leonard Fournette certainly has a unique skillset. The all-in-one back measured at 240-pounds and ran a 4.51-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, assuring him top-tier status in last week’s NFL Draft. The Jacksonville Jaguars only validated the hype, selecting the RB fourth overall despite a slurry of other needs.
While on SEC: Smothered and Covered podcast with Barrett Sallee, Pro Football Focus senior writer Steve Palazzolo said that Fournette may not be the best fit in Jacksonville, however.
The first issue, according to Palazzolo, is scheme fit.
“I do think we’ve seen him maybe struggle at times creating for himself,” said Palazzolo, “and I don’t think he’s the cleanest zone runner, and Jacksonville likes to run a lot of zone-type concepts.”
The data-driven analyst then went on to question Fournette as a player, independent of the playbook.
“I think when you compare him to, say, a guy like (former FSU RB) Dalvin Cook,” added Palazzolo, “I feel like we’ve seen Dalvin Cook create more behind a poor offensive line at Florida State than say Fournette had to do at LSU. It’s not that he can’t do it, but those Alabama games…you know, I think a lot of that was if that blocking isn’t there, Fournette’s not going anywhere.”
However, all of these little nicks on Fournette’s game, the lack of success against Alabama, the differences in scheme, the Jags’ patchwork offensive line, and also the questions about his effectiveness as a third down receiver can fall by the wayside if Fournette reaches his potential, according to Palazzolo.
“I think there could be some struggles early on, but if you get 2015 Fournette, maybe it doesn’t even matter because he was definitely a special player.”