It’s never too early to talk fantasy football.
Skill players went early and often in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft, let’s take a look at the top players and project their impact next season.
Jacksonville Jaguars Running Back Leonard Fournette
NFL, meet the second coming of Bo Jackson.
Not only do I love this fit because of Tom Coughlin and Doug Marrone and their desire to pound the football into the ground but I also love this fit, dare I say it, because of Blake Bortles.
I know, I know, Mr. Garbage Time himself.
Let me explain.
Under Tom Coughlin and Doug Marrone, the Jaguars will re-brand themselves as a running football team. They’ll want to beat you with physicality, in the trenches, letting their much-improved defense set the tone of every game. Take the pressure off Bortles; don’t make him drop back 30, 40 or even 50 times a game.
Last season, Bortles had 40 or more pass attempts six times, finishing with 625 throws on the season. Dak Prescott did it just once, finishing with 459 pass attempts. There are many other elements that impacted those numbers, but the difference is still startling. Between T.J. Yeldon and Chris Ivory, the Jags didn’t have a threat in the backfield to take the edge off their quarterback.
They do now.
Last season, Fournette’s production dipped a little due to injuries (and a possible lack of motivation?), but two years ago he was flat out dominant. Many pundits expressed concerns he needs an open hole to be successful. As much as that helps every single running back, in regards to Fournette, that’s simply not true. Two seasons ago, when he still had something to prove, he gained 1,094 yards after contact (1,964 total yards) and forced 85 missed tackles. Only Derrick Henry averaged more after contact per carry, according to Pro Football Focus. PFF also points out that he was an excellent pass-blocker, so he should be able to stay on the field all three downs.
He’s the total package.
— Zach Petersel (@ZPetersel) April 29, 2017
The Jaguars’ offensive line wasn’t a strength last season but they’ve made moves to help.
By trading for Branden Albert (holdout pending) and moving up in the draft to select Cam Robinson in the second round, it should be an improved unit. They still have firepower on the outside in Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns to prevent teams from stuffing the box, so Fournette should have plenty of room to run.
He wasn’t a big part of the passing game at LSU, but I think he has untapped potential as a receiver. 20-30 catches next year seems very doable. He’s a high-end RB2 / low-end RB1 for me from the get-go.
Tennessee Titans Wide Receiver Corey Davis
Marcus Mariota, meet your best friend for the next 10-15 years.