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NFL Draft

Leonard Fournette Now An Integral Part Of Buccaneers Offense

  • The Draft Network
  • October 15, 2021
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The defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers moved to an impressive 4-1 on the new campaign at the conclusion of Thursday night’s victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.

To the surprise of nobody, Tom Brady and the Buccaneers’ high-flying offense is picking up exactly where it left off.

The Buccaneers employ a murderer's row of offensive playmakers, and they are producing at the expected clip while stretching opposing defenses incredibly thin. Through five games, the Buccaneers are scoring an impressive third-best 32.5 points per contest. A big part of their offensive success as of late has emerged in the form of an unlikely candidate.

Running back Leonard Fournette is averaging a whopping 127.9 total yards per game dating back to the start of the 2020 playoffs, and now has the appearance of an integral piece to the sustainability of the Buccaneers' offense.

Fournette's recent achievements represent quite the turnaround for the former LSU standout. The No. 4 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, things soured between Fournette and the Jacksonville Jaguars in the summer of 2020. After failing to find a trading partner, the Jaguars outright released Fournette in late August. It was a fall from grace for a ball-carrier that was once seen as an emerging superstar. Fournette quickly landed with the Buccaneers in early September, but his new chapter hardly got off on the right foot. Fournette rushed for 100-plus yards just once during the 2020 regular season and finished with under 20 rushing yards in seven of his appearances while being downright inactive for three others. Overall, Fournette’s measly 3.8 yards per game during the regular season hardly moved the needle.

But it was not a sign of things to come. Fournette transformed into an entirely different player in the playoffs and ultimately played a crucial role in Tampa Bay’s Super Bowl run, which culminated in an electric 135-yard performance in Super Bowl LV. Fournette reached an agreement on a one-year deal to return to the Buccaneers for a second season, and the low-risk, high-reward deal is currently paying off in abundance for both parties. The light has enthusiastically remained on for Fournette following his postseason success, who is currently averaging a healthy 109 total yards per game in 2021.

The Buccaneers look like strong candidates to reach (and win) the Super Bowl for the second consecutive season, and the continued success of Fournette would greatly improve their chances of reigning supreme once again.

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