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2017 NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU

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Could Fournette slip all the way to the Giants? And if he does, should they draft him?

NCAA Football:  Florida at Louisiana State Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

“Running backs are a dime a dozen.”

That sentence has been said so many times over the last decade or so that it is far past cliche. It’s true that the position has been devalued -- in part because of the growth of the “running back by committee” and also by rule changes that have increased protections given to the passing game.

And then there are the cases like Arian Foster or Ahmad Bradshaw, players who have had exceptional careers but came into the NFL as low draft picks or undrafted free agents. It all reinforces the idea that the running back position isn’t worth investing great resources in.

But what happens when a rare talent like LSU’s Leonard Fournette comes enters the draft? How will that change the calculus?

Measurables

Height - 6 feet, 1 inch (listed)

Weight - 230 (listed)

40 Time - (4.45) projected

Pros

  • Rare athlete. Fournette’s blend of size, power, and speed is often compared to Adrian Peterson
  • Extremely physical in all aspects of his game. Almost impossible for a lone tackler to bring down
  • Open field speed to gain chunks of yardage
  • Not an ankle breaker, but surprisingly quick and agile for his size. Can make tacklers miss or bounce runs outside
  • Shows patience and vision behind the line of scrimmage

Cons

  • Not terribly scheme diverse. Plays best in an I Formation offense that uses either man-gap blocking or an inside zone scheme
  • A LOT of carries at LSU. Wear and tear, as well as nagging injuries while at LSU will weigh on teams’ minds
  • Flashed some receiving skill, but not used much in the passing game

Does He Fit With The Giants?

Yes and no.

Fournette could probably play in any offense in the league and make that team better. However, he plays best behind center, and barring a shift in offensive philosophy, the Giants spend the majority of their time in the shotgun formation. So, while Fournette would be a welcome addition to the offense, they might not be able to use him to his greatest advantage.

Prospect Video

Big Board Rankings

Big Blue View - N/A

Mocking The Draft - N/A

CBS Sports - 10th overall

Draft Countdown - N/A

Draft Tek - 4th overall

Final Thoughts

Fournette is one of the most physically impressive running backs in the nation. Whether or not he is the top running back in a loaded class depends on who you talk to and what you are looking for in a running back. He isn’t the most explosive, versatile, or dynamic runner in the draft, but he is a physical presence on the field, very difficult to stop when in rhythm, and has the ability to grind down most defenses.

While he has some injury concerns and might not be as scheme-diverse as others, if a team wants to establish a physical tone to the game, Fournette is the back for them.