Seemingly every season the Jacksonville Jaguars are among the busiest teams each offseason when it comes to player acquisition. The organization is always among the top spenders during free agency and is not shy when it comes to orchestrating deals in the search for talent. But the massive player movement has not resulted in a positive product on the field. The Jaguars have not reached the playoffs since 2007. Their record over the past nine seasons is a combined 42-102. The club has lost 11 or more games for six consecutive years. Many felt that 2016 was going to be the Team’s year. Instead, only the Cleveland Browns (1-15) and San Francisco 49ers (2-14) won fewer games than the 3-13 Jaguars.

But now, it’s the number four that will have a big impact in terms of the team’s fortunes this fall.

Ground control

Flashback to the night of April 27 in the city of Philadelphia. The Browns took defensive end Myles Garrett, the Chicago Bears traded up to select quarterback Mitch Trubisky, and the 49ers opted for defensive tackle Solomon Thomas with picks 1-3, respectively. Then it was the Jacksonville Jaguars' turn, and for only the third time in the team’s brief history, they used a first-round pick on a running back. LSU’s Leonard Fournette was the top-ranked player at his position entering the draft. A year ago, Jacksonville ranked 22nd in the NFL in rushing. The last time the team featured a player who ran for 1,000-plus yards was 2011, when Maurice Jones-Drew led the NFL with 1,606 yards on the ground.

Enter Fournette, who offers great perspective and has an important goal in mind. “You come here, for me, to get better, to make the team better and make the whole foundation better,” explained the rookie running back last month to John Oehser of Jaguars.com. “That is my main focus.” Fournette seemingly understands the task ahead of him and the club and obviously has a simple philosophy.

“For me, my biggest thing is just team overall,” he added via Oehser. “Getting comfortable with each other. When things are not right outside of football we can come to each other and talk about it. Building that loyalty and becoming a closer family.”

Instant impact

A year ago, rookies Ezekiel Elliott (Dallas Cowboys) and Jordan Howard (Bears) finished 1-2, respectively in the NFL in rushing yards.

Now, the Jacksonville Jaguars are hoping to get the same kind of immediate impact from Fournette. It would not only help a defensive unit that made significant improvement from previous years, it’s something quarterback Blake Bortles needs in a big way. After showing some promise in his second season, the third-year pro digressed in 2016. The young signal-caller tried to do too much a year ago, totaling 22 of the team’s 29 turnovers. A more balanced attack featuring Fournette would be so important to the entire club. Look for the former LSU star to have an impressive year.

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