Average Draft Position (CBS): 28th
NFL Veteran Comparison: Jordan Howard
It’s widely known that Leonard Fournette was a force to be reckoned with in his three years at LSU. The punishing runner compiled 3,830 rushing yards and 40 touchdowns in his time in Baton Rouge. He became the highest drafted running back when the Jacksonville Jaguars selected him with their first-round pick (fourth overall) in the 2017 draft. Fournette is expected to lead a crowded backfield including Chris Ivory, T.J. Yeldon, and Corey Grant. There are many questions regarding whether Fournette will live up to his high expectations, and here’s why he will:
- Fournette is a big man (6’1″ 235lbs). He will be able to use his frame to power through the opposing defense, and most importantly score touchdowns. Jacksonville struggled mightily last season with goal line offense, and Fournette can be the perfect remedy.
- Fournette will add another dimension to the Jacksonville offense, which will in turn make the players around him better and create more opportunities for himself. The Jacksonville rushing attack last year was less than stellar, so Fournette will create more opportunities for the passing game since the defense will need to respect the run, which will cause increased productivity and more scoring chances for Fournette.
- Although there are several other running backs in Jacksonville, none of them are spectacular and pose little competition. Fournette has a rare opportunity to be a workhorse back, which has become a scarcity in a league that is increasingly trending towards timeshare backfields.
Fournette isn’t the quickest of backs (4.51 40 yard dash), but that should not hinder him at all in having a very productive season. With Fournette’s size, he could easily achieve a 1,000 yard season and 12+ touchdowns if he stays healthy, which he struggled with in college. Jordan Howard is Fournette’s NFL comparison, because Howard (6’1″ 222 lbs) and Fournette are similar sizes and both run with the same downhill style, although Fournette is slightly faster than Howard (4.59 40). Fournette is currently being drafted in the top 30, which is about where he should be drafted come late August. He has the potential to become a productive RB1, and become the engine of the teams of anyone who owns him.