2017 NFL Draft Profile: Running Back Leonard Fournette
By Michael Pallas
Leonard Fournette is one of the best running backs heading into the 2017 NFL Draft. He’ll be a household name no matter where he lands.
Running back Leonard Fournette out of LSU can do it all. He’s a power running back capable of keeping those chains moving and going through anyone in front of him.
As a freshman, Fournette had 1,786 all-purpose yards and 11 all-purpose touchdowns. He ran for 1,034 yards (5.5 per carry) and 10 touchdowns. He announced his presence in the SEC even more as a sophomore, becoming the 42nd player to eclipse the 1,900-yard mark, and almost becoming the 27th to rush for 2,000 yards.
He finished that season with 1,953 yards (6.5 per carry) and 22 touchdowns on the ground, leading him to become a consensus All-American. Unfortunately for Fournette, 2017 didn’t quite go as planned. An injury limited him to seven games, but he had 853 yards and 8 touchdowns and made Second Team All-SEC.
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Fournette is built like a linebacker and is as fast as a receiver. He will get to the second gear quickly.
Defenders better bring it when they tackle him because he will break tackles with ease. He has the strength to lower his pads and run people over.
He has the perfect combination of power and speed. He will win most short yardage and goal line situations.
One of his biggest strengths is also a big weakness. He’s an Earl Campbell-type running back. Unfortunately, that’s not good, because it could lead to a short career.
While he has breakaway speed, he doesn’t have the quickness to stick his foot in the ground and make moves to avoid tackles. He was limited to seven games due to an ankle injury, and couldn’t shake it.
He lacks the patience to find the hole. Fournette also needs work on finding the alley in zone schemes and in his pass blocking technique.
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DRAFT DAY PREDICTION
Fournette has the talent to make it as an NFL running back. His size, speed and power all jump off the screen, but his lack of patience, inability to make defenders miss and durability issues are all concerning, despite All-Pro potential. He’s a first round talent, but due to the needs of other teams early in the first round, Fournette will go late.