Jacksonville Release Fournette
When news broke that the Jacksonville Jaguars were releasing running back Leonard Fournette eyebrows were raised, certainly from me anyway.
The former first-round pick (pick 4) was let go by the franchise that drafted him less than four years on. It does seem a little odd to me. The decision to waive him surely must be more than just his on-field production. His performances last year, while not spectacular or headline-grabbing, were more than serviceable for the Jags.
If you look at his stats from last year, they were respectable, to say the least. Fournette played 15 out of the Jags 16 games. He had 265 rushing attempts and he averaged 17 attempts per game for 1152 yards and 3 TDs. His overall yards are nothing to screw your nose at, it is decent, to say the least. However, only 3 TD’s is exceptionally low for a running back taken so high. In 2018 he only managed 8 games, rushing for 439 yards and 5 TD’s so 2019 could be a bounce-back year of sorts.
His overall career stats read ok too. He has played 36 games, rushing for 2631 yards. He has averaged 4.0 yards per attempt which is great for a back and he has 17 rushing TDs to his name. So, while not great production, it is not overly bad either.
When he was drafted at pick 4 in the 2017 draft. He was viewed as the focus of former VP Tom Coughlin’s ground and pound vison for the Jaguars. However, after his rookie season in which he played 13 games, rushed for 1040 yards, and 9 TD’s on route to making the playoffs he never reached those heights again. Since then, however, it has been slow going for the power back and then it leads to the decision to waive him.
As previously mentioned, the decision to release him surely can not be based simply on his production if last year is anything to go by. Whether he just does not fit the offensive style that the Jaguars want to go within 2020 or they just view him as expendable, we will most likely not know the real reason until the franchise decides to make the reasons public.
Either way, it was a decision that certainly made people around the NFL think twice when the news came through. If it was based purely on his performances then this certainly raises flags but if there are underlying issues with Fournette then perhaps we will finally get an idea of why he was released and how bad those issues are depending on the number of teams flag their interest in the free-agent back.
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