The Jacksonville Jaguars running game can best be described as an average NFL by ranking 17th in 2019. Leonard Fournette is entering his fourth season with hopes of earning his next big payday. Incidentally, Jacksonville has not declined to pick up the fifth year option of his rookie contract.
Fournette has had a rocky career with the Jaguars. His potential has vastly overshadowed his production. Can he stay healthy for a complete season?
He has played in 36 of 48 regular-season games. In 2017, he rushed for 1040 in 13 games. The following season of 2018, he played in 8 games and rushed for 439 yards. Last season, Fournette missed one game while rushing for 1152 yards.
Perhaps the days of averaging 100 yards/game is a thing of the past. Fournette averages 73.1 yards per game. If you count his receiving yards/game, his production jumps to 101.1 total yards/game. Will that be good enough for him to get a new deal in March?
Chris Thompson signed with Jacksonville to join Jay Gruden in the new offensive philosophy. Thompson played in Washington for seven seasons. His numbers are not outstanding except that he averages 6.4 yards each time he touches the ball.
Ryquell Armstead begins his second season in Jacksonville after being selected in the fifth round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Armstead averaged 10.3 yards per reception. Expect him and Thompson to compete for the backup job to Fournette.
Devine Ozigbo saw limited action in 2019. Physically, he is very similar to Fournette. At 6-feet-2 weighing 225 pounds, Ozigbo is two inches taller and three pounds lighter. Could the Jaguars allow Fournette to walk into free agency and groom Ozigbo for the future starting running back position?
There are three rookies on the current Jaguars roster. James Robinson, Tavien Feaster, and Nathan Cottrell are fighting to make the practice roster. They will have to have an outstanding training camp to have a chance to make the roster.
Look for Fournette to emerge as the starting feature back. Thompson will edge out Ozigbo and Armstead because of his familiarity with the Gruden system. Armstead will be the third back on the roster and Ozigbo will be on the practice squad. Let’s see how it plays out.
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