X

Leonard Fournette to Jaguars: Twitter Reacts as RB Is Selected in 2017 NFL Draft

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistApril 28, 2017

FAYETTEVILLE, AR - NOVEMBER 12:  Leonard Fournette #7 of the LSU Tigers runs the ball during a game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Razorback Stadium on November 12, 2016 in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  The Tigers defeated the Razorbacks 38-10.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Running back Leonard Fournette shouldered a significant load during his three years with the LSU Tigers, and he'll look to do the same for the Jacksonville Jaguars after they selected him fourth overall in the first round of the 2017 NFL draft on Thursday in Philadelphia

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

First running back off the board! Jaguars take LSU RB Leonard Fournette with the No. 4 overall pick. https://t.co/eZSRiU7Frj

#DUUUVAL @Jaguars

With the fourth overall pick, the #Jaguars select LSU RB Leonard Fournette (@_fournette). #JAXDraft17 coverage ➡ https://t.co/cTo81ez8LM https://t.co/gxAGAwbuiE

Former NFL wide receiver Chad Johnson thought Fournette would be a good pick wherever he landed:

The Boston Globe's Ben Volin was a little more skeptical of the Jaguars' target:

Ben Volin @BenVolin

Fournette to the Jaguars. Thought they had much bigger needs than RB

ESPN.com's Bill Barnwell noted the team's recent history with the running back position:

Bill Barnwell @billbarnwell

Jags RB history under Dave Caldwell - spend on Toby Gerhart, draft T.J. Yeldon, spend more on Chris Ivory, draft Leonard Fournette - is fun.

Here are some of the best reactions to the selection:

James Palmer @JamesPalmerTV

The Jags were staying at #4 unless some one opened the bank. And they get Leonard Fournette, the player I’m told they wanted all along.

Sam Monson @PFF_Sam

Tom Coughlin running JAX, Fournette at #4 overall. Jags are gonna dominate the 1996 season.

Bryan Curtis @bryancurtis

Congrats to Leonard Fournette on getting the Top 5 money he was unethically prevented from getting two years ago!

Jarvis Juice Landry @God_Son80

Salute @_fournette

Fournette was limited to seven appearances last season because of nagging ankle injuries, and his production suffered as a result. In 144 total touches, Fournette recorded 989 yards and eight touchdowns from scrimmage. 

However, his sophomore season was a sight to behold. 

In 12 games during the Tigers' 2015 campaign, Fournette rushed 300 times for 1,953 yards and 22 touchdowns as he cemented himself as the nation's top running back. As if those numbers weren't impressive enough, Fournette also forced a nation-high 85 missed tackles thanks to his sensational blend of size (6'0", 240 lbs) and speed, according to Pro Football Focus

He displayed those qualities at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, recording the fastest 40-yard-dash time among running backs weighing at least 240 pounds, per NFL Research: 

NFL Research @NFLResearch

Leonard Fournette from @LSUfootball has the fastest 40-time at the combine among all running backs weighing 240+ lbs (since 2003) https://t.co/Y2ZGeUtwHR

NFL Research @NFLResearch

Based on the combine, Leonard Fournette has: - Same weight as Clay Matthews - Same burst as Percy Harvin - Same speed as Jordy Nelson

"My motto is 'Never let one man take you down,'" Fournette said in March, according to the Charlotte Observer's Joseph Person. "That's my whole purpose."

That much was clear in Week 3 of the 2016 season, when Fournette tossed a would-be Mississippi State tackler into the turf and picked up a first down: 

Fournette may not shed defenders with the same ease in the pros, but there's reason to believe he'll be a force to be reckoned with after he bulldozed opponents during his three years in Death Valley.

Moving forward, look for the Jaguars to install the 22-year-old as a primary component of their rushing rotation in hopes of taking some pressure off quarterback Blake Bortles to establish some more offensive balance in 2017. 

However, questions will remain about the rest of the team's rushing rotation, considering T.J. Yeldon and Chris Ivory split carries a season ago. 

Now, the pair will presumably have to compete for the No. 2 job behind Fournette as Jacksonville continues renovating its offense.