JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Leonard Fournette appears to grasp what it takes to be an excellent pro, as the Jacksonville Jaguars rookie running back continues to acclimate to life in the NFL. The Jaguars selected the former LSU phenom with the fourth overall pick and so far the early returns are encouraging.
Fournette has looked good in the team’s first three practices of organized team activities. The 6-foot, 228-pound Fournette is expected to revive a dormant Jaguars running game that ranked 22nd in rushing last season. T.J. Yeldon led the team with 465 yards, while Chris Ivory scored a team-high three times on the ground.
Fournette rushed for 3,830 yards with 40 touchdowns in 32 games with the Tigers.
There is no contact allowed at OTAs, so Fournette’s physical style can’t be displayed.
“I will say Leonard’s progressing well,” Jaguars coach Doug Marrone said. “What’s hard about Leonard and some of the running backs like Ivory – their style of running, because it’s a physical style, it’s much harder to judge in this time of what we’re doing now than when you get the pads on.”
Fournette has been able to display his receiving skills, which continue to be a pleasant surprise. He only caught 41 passes at LSU.
“The one thing I will say is that he had one drop today, but I think that’s the only drop he’s had since we’ve been out there,” Marrone said. “People were talking about can he catch. The one thing I have been impressed with is he’s caught the ball well. I’m excited about that.”
Fournette is also processing offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett’s scheme well, taking time on his own to master the playbook.
“It’s 95 percent mental,” Fournette said. “If you don’t know what you’re doing when you go out there not knowing anything, you’ll get lost fast. It’s a lot of hard work and preparation at the end of the day.”
Fournette said the extra time he’s spent on learning his assignments is paying off on the field.
“Most definitely,” Fournette said. “That comes from studying. You have to take time out on your own when you go home, and instead of sleeping, at least take 45 or 30 minutes to get in the playbook and understand all of the blocking assignments that the line has.”
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