1. Leonard Fournette, Jac
Drafted: 1st round, 4th overall
Scouting Report: Let’s just get this out of the way: Fournette’s size/speed combo, at least in conjunction with tape that clearly backed up his workout metrics, is going to be unmatched in this class. He’s big, powerful, and speedy. He’ll be compared to Derrick Henry, but on tape, we think Fournette used his size far better than Henry, despite Henry having very impressive metrics in his own right. Fournette, more so than Henry, had immediate speed, while Henry’s speed was more of a build up. In a very restricted LSU offense, Fournette at times just completely took over games, at least before his injury-plagued 2016 season (turn on his 2015 Auburn game for dominance personified). Fournette missed five games in 2016 with a lingering left ankle injury, and he opted to sit out LSU’s bowl game to get healthy, and fortunately it looks like he’ll be completely ready to make an impact for his new NFL team. Fournette scored 41 TDs at LSU in just 32 career games, running for 3830 yards and 6.2 YPC. While he wasn’t asked to catch the ball much in college (just 41 receptions), he showed an aptitude in this area that suggests he won’t be a zero on third downs at the next level, especially since he was pretty solid in pass protection as well. Fournette is an excellent interior and outside runner, though he struggled out of shotgun, perhaps a sign of how limiting LSU’s offense was. And given LSU’s passing game has struggled for ages, Fournette consistently saw boxes of eight or more defenders, but was successful as a runner anyway. In 2015, when he wasn’t as limited by his bad ankle, he showed more lateral agility than in 2016, though that isn’t his game anyway. The concern with Fournette – and why we had him ranked lower than Christian McCaffrey pre-draft – is that he needs a specific fit and role to reach his potential. While we don’t think Fournette will be useless on third downs, his struggles in the shotgun in college must be accounted for. But there’s no doubt he has the natural ability to one day lead the NFL in rushing, and that’s going to make him very appealing for dynasty players.
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