Leonard Fournette adds ‘outstanding depth at a position that’s OK’ for Bucs, Arians says


TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The Buccaneers continued to add depth at running back by agreeing to a one-year deal with Leonard Fournette on Wednesday.

“That’s one position I think you can’t have enough good guys,” Buccaneers Head Coach Bruce Arians said. “That’s the one area where nicks and bruises add up. When you can get a player of that caliber – and I got great reviews from people that know him and have coached him, so he’ll fit right in. We’ll see what role happens and how fast it can happen.”

With a roster packed with running backs, that leaves the question of who will be their main guy? Arians was very clear that Ronald Jones was still their top back in the locker room.

“RoJo is our guy,” Arians said. “[LeSean McCoy] is ready for his role. It’s just going to be building roles as we go along [and] having enough quality players to finish this thing.”

Fournette, who was the fourth overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft out of LSU, spent his first three seasons with Jacksonville. During that time, he rushed for 2,631 yards to go along with 1,009 receiving and 19 total touchdowns.

“His skill-set is very well rounded,” Arians said. “He’s a three-down player so he fits right in to the rest of the group and added some outstanding depth at a position that’s OK.”

Now it’s a matter of getting Fournette up to speed in the playbook and hopefully ready to roll in their season opener against the Saints, which will be a homecoming for the New Orleans native.

“He’s a very bright player and everything I’ve heard from the guys coaching him [is] that he’ll pick it up really quick,” Arians said. “We’re not going to force him. We don’t have to force him. We’ll just let him get it at his pace and if I know him he’ll be pretty fast-paced. We’ll try to get him up to speed as fast as we can and see if he can have a role for next week.”

There has been some criticism of Fournette after a one-game suspension and injuries in 2018, but Arians said he isn’t worried about those outside opinions. He and the Bucs have done their own homework.

“The people that I really, really trust gave him high, high marks in everything that I care about,” Arians said. “I can’t say what’s going on in Jacksonville but all I can say is what’s happening in Tampa and he’ll fit right in.”


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