First-round draft pick Leonard Fournette showed exactly what the Jaguars expected to see after the first two days of rookie mini-camp.
Coach Doug Marrone praised Fournette for coming to camp in shape, moving well in drills, displaying pass-catching ability and able to retain terminology in the Jaguars’ scaled-back offensive playbook.
“There’s a confidence about him, but it’s not cockiness,’’ Marrone said Saturday at EverBank Field. “In camp, we were throwing the football to him and I thought he caught the football very well. I visualized him catching it well because I was able to watch the LSU tape and see what he did there.
“He was able to do the drills and the thing that I look for is how quickly he can respond to (running backs) coach Tyrone Wheatley and (offensive coordinator) Nathaniel Hackett when they do the drills and he’s picking them up, which I thought he did a nice job of.’’
Fournette, the fourth overall pick in the April 27-29 NFL Draft from Louisiana State University, was among the 64 players that made their debut on the field Friday and participated in the second day of drills on Saturday.
All seven draft picks, 16 undrafted free agents, 39 tryout players and two first-year players wore helmets, but no pads, for practices that are closed to fans and media and will conclude on Sunday.
“All of us competing and trying to get better,’’ Fournette said. ‘’We’re understanding each other and its been great so far.’’
Similar to Fournette, Marrone had mainly good things to say about second-round draft pick Cam Robinson, who is working exclusively at left tackle during the mini-camp.
“I do like the things that he did, he responded well,’’ Marrone said. “I thought he moved very well. Just like with Leonard, he’s a big man that moves very well, too.’’
Robinson said he was eager to get back on the field after going through extensive pre-draft workouts leading up to the draft. There’s still a chance Robinson could be moved to guard because they signed veteran Branden Albert to play left tackle. However, Albert could be a holdout, declining to report to offseason workouts or contact Marrone.
Whether Albert reports or not, Robinson said he’s had conversations with Fournette about the 2017 rookie class putting in extra work to help turn around the Jaguars, who are coming off a miserable 3-13 season.
“Both of us come from programs where losing is not really part of our culture,” said Robinson, who started all 44 games of his career at the University of Alabama and was a first-team All-America as a senior.
“It’s not really part of what we do. It’s something we both talked about: trying to help change the culture around here. You want to have a winning feel because that’s all we’re used to and all we’ve ever known. I think a big part of it is just it being with what we’re doing now. Coming out and having good practices, having good effort at practice, good tempo at practices. You just want the whole morale of the team to change.”
Fournette intends to remain in Jacksonville after the rookie mini-camp ends to continue working and learning the playbook. Fournette has also formed a friendship with fourth-round pick Dede Westbrook, whom he said has been impressive during camp.
“I like Dede [Westbrook]. I think Dede’s fast, he competes,” Fournette said. “We go at each other all the time in any of the drills we do. I’d say Dede’s good. Me and Dede are going to stay here, get more into the playbook, get more understanding because we’re not done. In order to be the best, you have to sacrifice a lot of things. So I’m going to have my kids come up here with me. Every day just working out, doing whatever I got to do just to get better, to get this team better and get myself better.”