JACKSONVILLE – The running-back room got deeper Saturday.
It got a bit angrier, too – and it was that style that prompted the Jaguars to select RyQuell Armstead with their first selection of the third day of the 2019 NFL Draft.
“It was a big part of what we saw on film,” running backs coach Terry Robiskie told jaguars.com Saturday shortly after the selection.
Armstead, a running back from Temple University, was selected by the Jaguars with the second selection of Round 5 of the 2019 NFL Draft Saturday. The selection was the 140thoverall.
Armstead called himself a back who brings “everything to the table.”
“I’m a great inside-zone runner,” he said. “I’m a guy that can hit the home run as well. I’m a guy that’s very physical, a guy that can catch the ball, block out of the backfield.”
Armstead (5-feet-11, 220 pounds), rushed for 2,812 yards and 34 touchdowns in four seasons at Temple. He rushed for 1,098 yards and 13 touchdowns on 210 carries this past season.
“We think he’s an angry guy,” Robiskie said. “He runs angry. If you want to be a running team in the National Football League, you need angry players. You need guys who start off strong and finish strong, and he’s capable of doing that.”
That could fit with a running backs group that features 2017 No. 4 overall selection Leonard Fournette, who when healthy in the NFL has shown elite power and speed.
“I think that was a big part of the decision to go forward and pick him, and to make him a part of what we’re trying to get done,” Robiskie said, adding: “Leonard is that type of back. Hopefully, he can come in and do some things like Leonard. I don’t know if he can do it that well, but hopefully he can come in and help us out and get some things done.”
Armstead said he has followed Fournette’s career and wants to learn from the third-year veteran.
“He is a great back,” Armstead said. “He is a guy I idolized coming up throughout high school, watching him run angry and run violent. His high school highlight tape, he is not even getting tackled. That is something I take pride in. I wanted to be like him. Being able to come in and play with him is going to be unbelievable."
Fournette, who rushed for 1,040 yards and nine touchdowns as a rookie in 2017 before rushing for 439 yards and five touchdowns in eight games this past season, is the only returning player at a Jaguars running back position that has transitioned dramatically this offseason.
The team allowed veterans T.J. Yeldon and Corey Grant to become unrestricted free agents, also releasing veteran Carlos Hyde. The Jaguars in January signed former Seattle Seahawks running back Thomas Rawls as a free agent before signing former Houston Texans running back Alfred Blue as an unrestricted free agent in March.
“We want to be a strong running team,” Robiskie said. “One thing that [Jaguars Head Coach] Doug Marrone said [at the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine] in Indianapolis [earlier this offseason] was ‘Leonard’s going to be the workhorse.’ If you’ve got a guy where you say, ‘He’s the workhorse’ and you have another guy who can come in and he can keep that momentum going, that’s a great plus. …
“I think we’ve got a good group of guys. I think we have a good mixture of young and old. We have some good inside/outside runners. I like the room. I like the mix.”