The New York Jets need to avoid the temptation of drafting Leonard Fournette when April 27 rolls around.
Undoubtedly, LSU running back Leonard Fournette will be available for the New York Jets to take at No. 6. They will easily have the urge to take Fournette there if their defensive targets are gone. However, a back like Fournette doesn’t really work in the NFL of 2017.
The Jets shouldn’t pigeonhole themselves into a position label. They should focus on players that are good at their primary position as well as being able to help the team in multiple ways.
For instance, Adoree’ Jackson is a good cornerback and can help on special teams by returning kickoffs and punts. Likewise, Christian McCaffrey is a good running back, can line up in the slot, and return punts and kicks.
According to Nick Schwartz of Fox Sports, Joel Klatt thinks Fournette is very limited.
“I think Leonard Fournette is pretty one-dimensional as a runner. He’s not going to make people miss. He’s not all that patient in the zone game.”
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Let’s look at the example of Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots. They had a bruising running back similar to Fournette, LeGarrette Blount. Early in 2016, the New England Patriots needed to use Blount a lot, and they counted on him due to injuries.
Through the first nine weeks, he played in 50 percent or more of the team’s offensive snaps in seven of their games. However, in the last seven weeks, he didn’t even play in half of the team’s snaps in any of the games.
In fact, in the AFC Divisional Round, he played in 39 percent of the offensive snaps. In the AFC Championship Game, he played in 41 percent of the snaps (only one more snap than James White). Finally, in the Super Bowl, he was used in only 17% of New England’s offensive snaps. White played in 72 percent of the snaps.
Fournette will be good for a team that needs a bruiser. The Jets need players who can be much more versatile than Fournette, and they should move down rather than take him.