Jaguars: Laviska Shenault to RB? What to expect out of the versatile rookie

Laviska Shenault may be in for a larger role with the Jaguars

After the shocking news of running back Leonard Fournette being waived on August 31, it will be very intriguing to see what the Jacksonville Jaguars do with rookie receiver Laviska Shenault.

At the conclusion of this shocking move, it seems the purge has ended and the rebuild is officially on in Jacksonville. One of the top stories to keep an eye on will be to see how Gardner Minshew fits with new OC Jay Gruden in his west coast offense.

A combination of Ryquell Armstead, Chris Thompson, and Devine Ozigbo are expected to pick up the workload in the backfield without Fournette. However, with the lack of playmaking and speed in Jacksonville, Gruden will have to be very creative in keeping defenses off balance and creating mismatches in different spots around the field.

One way to do that is to move around second rounder Laviska Shenault. Once viewed as a top 20 pick going into the 2019 season, Shenault experienced injuries throughout his last two seasons in Boulder causing him to fall to Jacksonville in round two.

At 6-foot 2, 220 pounds, Shenault has the body of a running back playing wide receiver. He is dense, powerful, and explosive with the ball in his hands. Colorado moved him all around the field during his junior season in the slot, outside, and at wildcat quarterback and running back.

In his career, he had 7 rushing scores on 6.7 yards per carry:

Shenault will be a nice, versatile tool for Gruden’s offense. Besides Thompson who has had durability issues, none of the Jaguar running backs are experienced. Thompson will likely serve as the third-down back, pass catcher anyways which leaves room for someone like Shenault to fill a Percy Harvin, Cordarrelle Patterson-esque role in their backfield:

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As the league evolves to more outside runs, motions, and spread formations, these hybrid receivers like Shenault who are capable of running the ball will more involved in offenses in order to create mismatches and misalignments for the defense.

As the Jaguars new backfield takes shape, Shenault’s role is something to keep a close eye on.