With the fourth overall selection in the 2017 NFL Draft, the Jacksonville Jaguars selected running back Leonard Fournette. Universally considered the top offensive player in the draft, the Jaguars believe that Fournette can make an immediate impact on the rushing attack and the offense as a whole. Only the New York Giants rushed for fewer touchdowns than the Jaguars did in 2016. The team also ranked just 22nd in rushing yards.
Few doubted the former LSU standout’s talent leading up to the draft. A gifted runner, Fournette accumulated 3,830 and 40 touchdowns on the ground in just 32 collegiate games. However, some fans and members of the media expressed concern regarding his fit in the team’s zone blocking scheme. Fournette is a power runner who is at his best due to his physical running style and natural instincts. He’s not a “one cut” runner who benefits from zone blocking, and the last thing you want to do with a player like Fournette is try to force a square peg in a round hole.
Leonard Fournette and the Jacksonville Jaguars Power Blocking Scheme
Building Around Fournette
Shortly after the selection of Fournette, the Jaguars officially reported that they would be transitioning to a power blocking scheme to accommodate their young running back’s strengths. The transition towards such a move isn’t always easy for offensive linemen, but the Jaguars might have a bit of an advantage to make the transition a little more smooth. Several of the Jaguars starting offensive linemen are actually best suited for a power blocking scheme. Players like A.J. Cann and Jermey Parnell are big, mauling blockers who are at their best at the point of attack. The Jaguars second round selection, Cam Robinson, also fits that mold.
Another key component of the power blocking scheme is the fullback, a position in which the Jaguars elected not to carry at all over the past few seasons. The Jaguars addressed that need in the seventh round of the draft with Marquez Williams. The University of Miami product played at 280 pounds for the Hurricanes this past season, but will likely hover around the 260 mark with the Jaguars. It’s no secret that Williams was brought in for his ability to open holes in the running game as a lead blocker.
The New Look Jaguars
With all of the pieces in place, it’s evident that executive vice president Tom Coughlin, general manager Dave Caldwell and head coach Doug Marrone have a clear vision for the direction of the offense. The Jaguars are making a statement that they plan on playing physical “ground and pound” football. The team will make it a priority to run the ball far more efficiently than they did last season.
The Jaguars will look a lot different running the football in 2017, and that is definitely for the best. Fournette can carry the football 20 times a game which will alleviate a lot of the pressure off of quarterback Blake Bortles. The Jaguars certainly look to be a more balanced team moving forward and control the tempo of ball games by effectively running the football with Leonard Fournette.