Will Leonard Fournette Dominate the NFL?

By Alexander C. Lawrence

NCAA Football Player Profile – Leonard Fournette, Running Back

School: LSU
Year:
Junior
Height: 6’1
Weight:
235lbs

Leonard Fournette is the top back in his class in my opinion, this is no deyning how electrifying he is. I think he will be the next best RB in the NFL and whichever team drafts him will not be disappointed. I know we’re witnessing Ezekiel Elliott destroying NFL defenses in his first season in the NFL, but don’t think for one second that Fournette can’t do the same thing. He runs with a lot of power and has elite agility. He knows how to truck through defenses already. No question that he does whatever it takes to get the ball in the end zone. He runs with a passion that you don’t see in some of his runs, but in all of his runs. I don’t care if he didn’t play in the bowl game. It doesn’t take away the talent we’ve seen from him. This guy is one of the best RB’s I’ve seen in a long time. He has face of the franchise written all over him.

You see how he trucks through defenders and isn’t scared to take on the big boys. I do think he’ll suffer a little from that aspect and may need to rely on his speed rather than power simply because he will be facing bigger D-linemen and linebackers then he did in college. I am slightly concerned that he will be hearing from the NFL about how he lowers his shoulders and shows no mercy towards corners and safeties when he comes across them. The league will not approve of the violent hits he dishes out. The NFL will hand out fines and suspensions as we’ve seen before. I personally like the aggression he shows. It really shows how hard he is to take down. We’ve seen the game change to ensure the safety of players and unfortunately he will need to adjust somewhat, but though it is a con I can’t see it affecting his success that much. One thing that people also seem to be worried about is can he be an every down back? The answer is yes. His blocking and pass-catching skills will improve over time with the right coach. He has the work ethic to become a better player as we’ve seen him grow since 2014.

Pros:

  • Runs with power
  • Can break through defensive linemen
  • Gets low on defenders
  • Excellent awareness
  • Has breakaway speed
  • Can catch the ball and block
  • Builds into top-speed quickly
  • Durable runner
  • Finds open holes quick

Cons:

  • Style of play could result in penalties/ disciplinary actions
  • Needs to improve footwork
  • Inconsistent pass blocks
  • Lack of involvement in the passing game.

He’s shown he can be a dynamic force with his power and speed. He needs some adjustments to his game to avoid getting into any conflict with the NFL. Don’t be fooled by his style of play and subpar blocking and pass catching. He’ll get there with time and develop behind a good offense line. He gives it 100% every play and he’ll upgrade almost any running game immediately. He has an unbelievable amount of talent and I can see him fitting in nicely just about anywhere; if a team is looking for a star RB look no further. Not too many red flags from what I see that will hurt his draft stock.

Draft projection: Top 5

Comparison: Adrian Peterson

 

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