Leonard Fournette doesn’t seem to think the whole NFL running back thing is all that hard.
The No. 4 overall pick in the 2017 draft exuded confidence during his postgame comments following his professional debut for the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday, a 31-24 win over the New England Patriots.
Certain rookies can be prone to getting swept up by the nerves of playing at the highest level in the sport, but as Fournette told James Palmer of NFL.com, that simply wasn’t the case for him.
“It’s a lot slower than I really thought,” Fournette said. “That’s how I’ve been since I first got into the NFL. A lot of people were like, ‘It’s going to be fast.’ But by me playing in the SEC, that kind of helped me a lot.
“I think, to me, it was really easy.”
Fournette posted a respectable line of 31 yards on nine carries, including a 1-yard touchdown run. While those numbers may not be earth-shattering, his presence on the field was certainly enough to grab the attention of his head coach.
“I think you can see he is a powerful kid, powerful running back, and I just wanted to make sure about ball security,” Jaguars bench boss Doug Marrone said. “Things like you don’t see when you are at this level, you want to see, obviously it is a physical game, and you want to see how he reacts to it, and he had no issue with that at all.”
Fournette currently sits atop the Jaguars’ depth chart in the backfield, but does have a history of injuries that plagued the final stages of his college career at LSU. If he can prove this season that those issues are behind him, the rookie could become a game-changing force on the ground in 2017.
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