Jaguars believe Leonard Fournette is ‘special’ in mold of Adrian Peterson

By Jesse Reed

Is Leonard Fournette the next Adrian Peterson? The Jacksonville Jaguars seem to think he’s that kind of impact player, which isn’t surprising considering they drafted him No. 4 overall.

Jacksonville’s assistant director of college scouting, Paul Roell, thinks Fournette is “special” in the mold of Peterson.

“When that kid hit LSU campus, he was a star from day one,” Roell said, per Michael DiRocco of ESPN. “Adrian Peterson was another one from my past from Oklahoma. Those guys are special. We just want special playmakers. A game-changer. That is what Leonard Fournette is. You don’t wait to take those guys.”

In his three years at LSU, Fournette certainly made his mark. He totaled 4,356 yards from scrimmage and scored 41 touchdowns in 32 career games with the Tigers. He was also the heavy favorite to win the Heisman halfway through the 2015 season before a poor performance against Alabama — Fournette’s Kryptonite — slowed him down.

While Roell isn’t ready to say Fournette will have the same type of Hall of Fame career as Peterson, he definitely sees similarities between the two players.

“Both when they came on campus right out of high school were like grown men when you saw them physically,” Roell said. “You don’t see that every place you go.

“Running styles are different. Leonard bends a little bit better. Adrian was little more upright as a runner than Leonard was. Adrian may have a little more lateral cut ability, but Leonard, for a big man, what is so impressive is his feet in the hole. [Fournette] is a one-cut downhill runner, but with that being said, when you get him in the hole or in tight areas he has the ability and quick feet to change direction and make people miss, gain yards, and then he just lowers his shoulder on people.”

Jacksonville is banking on Fournette being an instant-impact player for them. General manager David Caldwell said taking him at No. 4 was a “win now” move for the franchise. It’s a hard sell, given the fact that the Jags have won 17 games the past five seasons. But this is a team that many thought would take a big step towards the postseason in 2016.

Massive regression by Blake Bortles torpedoed that dream, but the hope is that Fournette will take a lot of pressure off the quarterback, who threw the ball way too much in 2016.

If Fournette doesn’t pan out the way the Jags hope he will, we’re certain jobs will be lost. Hopefully for Jacksonville, its front office and their fans, he does what they expect him to do.