The transition to the NFL is supposed to be a little bumpy, even for the best players coming out of college. Jaguars rookie running back Leonard Fournette disagrees.
“It’s a lot slower than I really thought,” Fournette said after Jacksonville’s 31-24 preseason win over New England. “That’s how I’ve been since I first got into the NFL. A lot of people were like, ‘It’s going to be fast.’ But by me playing in the SEC that kind of helped me a lot. I think to me it was really easy.”
Fournette didn’t start, but the Jags had him in by the second drive of the game. He carried the ball on the first four plays of the drive, including an 8-yard gain on fourth-and-1. Two drives later, he scored his first NFL touchdown:
Fournette finished with nine carries for 31 yards and a touchdown.
Before you get agitated by Fournette’s confidence, let’s make something clear — he’s probably right.
If you watched Fournette play in college, he never had much trouble running over, around, and through defenders in the SEC. Truck stick hits were his thing, and if you need proof, here it is.
Yes, those words are probably going to be used against him when the season starts. That’s fine. He’ll have his ups and downs, but he’ll still be truck sticking opponents.
What makes his comment especially sweet are the whispers from anonymous NFL scouts and front office types before the draft. They questioned his passion for the game, lol, in part because he skipped LSU’s bowl game after an injury-riddled season.
Leonard is going to get plenty of work with the Jaguars offense, which features Blake Bortles at quarterback. As long as he can stay healthy, he’s going to put up big numbers. He’ll probably contend for the Rookie of the Year award too.
It’s a lot of pressure for a rookie. I suspect he can handle it.