It is quite a way to start the final days for August.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have waived running back Leonard Fournette after three years. Fournette, drafted out of LSU was the fourth pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.
After his successful rookie year where he rushed for nearly 1100 yards and nine touchdowns. The Jaguars signed Fournette to a four-year deal worth $27.15 million with a 17 million dollar signing bonus.
However, the 25-year-old suffered numerous injuries including injuring his right hamstring twice in 2018 and a neck injury in the 2019 season finale vs Indianapolis.
Injuries aside, he was 7th in rushing with over 1150 yards but a career-low three touchdowns. Wherever he ends up next, he will be at that “fork in the road” to embrace his second chance or not.
As for his former team, who will run the ball in new offensive coordinator Jay Gruden’s playbook?
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Starter: RB Ryquell Armstead
Here is a running back to keep an eye out, second-year back Ryquell Armstead. I know you are looking at this and saying that he only had 35 rushes and 108 yards last year. Gruden knows how to get the best out of his running backs. Veteran running back Chris Thompson is more of a player who will gain you yards off the swing pass or a screen on the outside. In 2018, in his senior season, Armstead was the main back at Temple University rushing for nearly 1100 touchdowns and 13 touchdowns. The 2019 fifth-rounder has the ability to make quick cuts, advanced the ball ahead, and make big plays with 4.45 speed (in the 40-yard dash). According to CBS Sports, Armstead will be the number one running back for Jacksonville in 2020 after Fournette was waived.
Armstead could be a potentially solid waiver wire pickup if he can lead the team in carries, score some touchdowns, and show that he has a future in the NFL as a premier running back.
Backup: RB Chris Thompson
The Jaguars will have to depend on the versatile running back Chris Thompson who is coming into his eighth year. Thompson played his last seven years on Washington, his best years were in 2016-17. In two years he garnered 1509 total yards from scrimmage and 11 touchdowns. However, he is injury-riddled with bruised ribs that kept him out of six games in 2018. Last year he was out for five games with a sprained toe. This is a good time to embrace the running back role, even if it is through the air gaining yards after the catch.
Backup #2: RB Devine Ozigbo
Ozigbo was an undrafted 2019 free agent out of the University of Nebraska. He has his best season as a Cornhusker in his senior year with 1,082 yards and 12 touchdowns. The six-foot, 225 lb back was known for his explosiveness off the draw and his uphill running ability off the outside. Don’t be surprised if you see Ozigbo when the Jaguars are doing a draw play or a sweep off the A gap.
The Jaguars are going back to the drawing board and silently rebuild.
They have 80 to 1 odds on making the Super Bowl, it’s the second-lowest in the NFL.