By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Leonard Fournette, the fourth overall pick in this year’s draft, may go on to have an illustrious career as a running back in the NFL. Or he may fizzle out like many first-round backs that have not quite made it over the years. After just one preseason game against the Patriots, it’s far too early to make any sort of determination.
But what’s not in question is that the kid has got confidence. By the boatload.
Following his preseason debut, during which he gained 31 yards on nine carries and scored a touchdown, Fournette gave an honest assessment of what it was like to face an NFL defense.
“It’s a lot slower than I really thought. That’s how I’ve been since I first got into the NFL,” Fournette said after the Jaguars’ win. “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.”
That’s quite the quote from the rookie.
Now, you could break it down, and point out that his experience so far consists of going up against Jaguars players in practice and backup Patriots players in a preseason game that doesn’t matter, with some reps against some of the Patriots’ starters in some joint practices. And you could note that a 3.44 average yards per carry in that preseason game is not considered to be excellent. You could note that certainly, taller tasks stand in Fournette’s way this season, and that he’s unlikely to find it to be “easy” throughout the year.
But for now, it’s probably worth it to just admire the confidence of the 22-year-old from Louisiana. The NFL could always use some star players who aren’t afraid to speak honestly while avoiding the tired football cliches, and the Jaguars (22-74 since 2011) certainly could use that kind of confidence in the locker room.