Nothing seems to faze Jaguars rookie running back Leonard Fournette.
On Tuesday, the fourth overall pick brushed off the notion he is facing a heavy transition as a rookie in the NFL. Fournette admitted to the media that he doesn't feel like a rookie.
The 22-year-old had a lot of high-profile experience prior to joining the Jaguars. He spent three seasons running wild against SEC defenses and set or tied 16 LSU school records.
The Jaguars' top pick doesn't feel like there has been much of a change in his transition to the league so far.
"Not really," Fournette said. "The meetings are long, but you did that in college, too, so it’s not that far off.”
The young running back has broken out for plenty of big runs since the start of training camp. It seems like a practice hasn't gone by without a 20-yard or more gain from Fournette.
The rookie's play has been even stronger since pads were added to the mix on Saturday. Fournette enjoys contact, as his college film illustrates.
“Most definitely," Fournette said. "With two hands touching each other you can get a little more thud in, see what power you have, what power your teammates have. Just helping them and also helping the running backs too, with telling each other breaking tackles and finishing plays.”
The Jaguars have frequently fed the running backs in the passing game during training camp. While Fournette produced 3,820 rushing yards and 40 rushing touchdowns during his three seasons at LSU, his receiving prowess was rarely put on display.
Fournette said he believes he has done well as a receiver out the backfield. The team hasn't avoided testing his hands, so it's encouraging Fournette continues to display confidence in that aspect of his game.
Along with the receiving game, Fournette feels like he has shown promise as a blocker.
He will need to pick up the blitz regularly in passing situations. His ability to pass protect will determine how quickly he can become an every-down back.
Coming from the SEC, he isn't worried about blocking at the NFL level.
“To me, it’s just the same," Fournette said. "You take away the inside. You only fight for a couple of seconds so it’s not that hard.”
Fournette does acknowledge that NFL competition is more intelligent. It has forced him to pay extra attention to his playbook.
The confident running back will face his first external competition next week when the team travels to New England for joint practices with the Patriots. He is excited for the challenge of facing the defending Super Bowl champions.
"At some point, you get tired of going against your own teammates," Fournette said. "You want to go and compete against other people.”
Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter at @Mike_E_Kaye.
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