The Jaguars waived running back Leonard Fournette on Monday, continuing a miserable trend of missteps regarding the franchise's recent first-round selections.
With Fournette's waiver, an astounding eight of the Jaguars' nine top-10 picks in the last decade are no longer with the team; only linebacker Josh Allen, whom Jacksonville drafted in 2019, remains on the roster.
The Jags picked in the Top 10 nine times in the 2010s. On Aug. 31, 2020, just one of those nine players is on their roster. pic.twitter.com/8NIQvsRfYg— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) August 31, 2020
Fournette, 25, spent only three seasons in Jacksonville, rushing 666 times for 2,631 yards and 17 touchdowns. He added 134 receptions for 1,009 receiving yards and two touchdowns as well. But the No. 4 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, the first by former Jaguars executive Tom Coughlin, was also called selfish as his team struggled to a combined 11-21 record in 2018 and '19.
Third-year coach Doug Marrone said Fournette's waiver had nothing to do with issues off the field or in the locker room, but did say he defines a good running game not by rushing yards but by the ability to run the ball at will. Fournette rushed for 1,152 yards — but only three touchdowns — in 2019.
Jacksonville placed Fournette on the trading block by electing not to exercise his fifth-year option in May; they received no offers for him. That decision continued another subpar trend for the franchise: It hasn't exercised the fifth-year option for any of its first-round picks dating back to the 2011 NFL Draft, which was the first to include the option (via the 2011 NFL collective bargaining agreement). That includes seven straight top-10 picks, and six in the top five.
Those picks comprise of two quarterbacks, a receiver, offensive tackle, defensive end, cornerback and running back. Here's what that looks like, per analyst Warren Sharp:
This is truly insane
• top-10 picks 7 straight yrs
• top-5 picks 6 straight yrs
and doing this:
#10 Blaine Gabbert❌
#5 Justin Blackmon❌
#2 Luke Joeckel❌
#3 Blake Bortles - CUT
#3 Dante Fowler❌
Here's some good news for the Jags: They seem to have broken their unenviable trend of draft missteps with Josh Allen in 2019. He earned Pro Bowl status as a rookie, but there's still another player up — defensive tackle Taven Bryan — to determine if the team's streak continues another year.#5 Jalen Ramsey - TRADED
#4 Leonard Fournette❌ pic.twitter.com/TNNrdu3Wuc— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) May 2, 2020
So, yeah. Not great.
It's worth noting that Jalen Ramsey's talent was worth such a high pick; but injury issues raised questions of his long-term future with the team, leading to a heated confrontation with coach Doug Marrone in Week 2 of the 2019 season. He was "overjoyed" to be traded from the team.
Here's some good news for the Jags: They seem to have broken their unenviable trend of draft missteps with Josh Allen in 2019. He earned Pro Bowl status as a rookie, but there's still another player up — defensive tackle Taven Bryan — to determine if the team's streak continues another year.
Considering how poorly the Jaguars have drafted — and developed — their talent, it would be no surprise if it continued another season before it finally, mercifully ends.
This story has been updated from a previous version.