The Jacksonville Jaguars waived RB Leonard Fournette, the fourth overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. Fournette, who is considered one of the best running backs in the game, is the latest player to be waived by the team. The four-star RB, a rare combination of speed and power, was expected to skip his final season of college football. With his injury history and poor performance in college, Fournette might not be worth the Jags’ high draft pick.
After struggling in his collegiate career, Fournette received his second chance in the NFL draft. The Jaguars chose Fournette as the fourth overall pick, despite his lackluster performance last season. While he had a better overall grade than in his first three years, his production in 2016 was significantly below what he showed during his final season at LSU. He averaged just 2.84 yards after contact in 2016, compared to 3.65 yards in 2015 and broke ninety-six tackles in that year. In all, Fournette’s numbers were inconsistent, but his team is likely to be happy to have him.
Though Fournette signed for $27.1 million and added a $17.8 million signing bonus, he will likely continue to play as a workhorse tailback in the Jaguars’ run-oriented offense. Fournette had 3,830 rushing yards in his career at LSU and scored 42 touchdowns. He also set 23 school records. And while he may be considered a rookie, his ability to play at the next level could be crucial for the Jags.
While a lot of GMs have been critical of Fournette’s draft pick, the Jaguars could have been better served by drafting another RB in a later round. The Jaguars did not have the luxury of signing Chris Ivory, and Fournette could have saved Blake Bortles’ season. If Fournette does indeed play well in the NFL, he may be a valuable player.