RB Leonard Fournette, 6’0 240 LSU
What He Does Well
An explosive runner who can get to top speed within a few steps. Can use his speed and explosiveness to generate power in the open field. Has the speed to reel off long runs. A patient runner whose able to let a hole develop while also not getting anxious if early game holes are not open. Has the ability to start and stop and negotiate his way through traffic. Can put his foot down and explode through a crease or opening. Can make a lateral cut to make a defender miss. Size and speed make it tough to tackle him and allows him to always fall forward. Shows the balance to take on body blows and maintain his feet to continue to run. Displays the hands to make catches within his frame and with the ability to pluck the ball out of the air. Able to run screen or basic running back routes to effectively be reliable in the pass game.
— Brian Johannes (@Draft_Brian) April 1, 2017
What He Lacks
While he has good size he isn’t an overly powerful runner in the short area. Can be taken down a little too easily by defensive lineman. Lacks the ability to push the pocket. Explosive speed but can be caught from behind or angles taken to cut off long runs. Tends to be a straight line runner who lacks much wiggle or quick change of direction. Still undeveloped as a pass protector which could lead to him being a two down back initially. While he has the hands to catch within his frame he’s not going to be viewed as a weapon in the passing game. A limited route runner. At times will only take what the offensive line gives him.
Since his arrival at LSU the historical comparisons have been thrown out comparing Leonard Fournette to some of the best running backs ever. Fournette possesses elite speed and explosiveness for someone his size running the fastest 40 time (4.50) for any running back at the Combine weighing 240lbs or heavier. His skills set is scheme transcendent as he has shown the ability to be a patient stop and start running that would fit a gap/man blocking scheme while also being able to put a foot down and explode to the second level within a zone blocking scheme. Add in balance and power generated from his speed and there is no wondering why NFL teams are raving about him. Questions do abound as Fournette tends to be a straight line runner without much wiggle while also not generating much power if he can’t get to full speed. In the passing game he has the skill set and the frame to develop into a good pass protector but is still very raw. Fournette has shown that he can make plays in the run game whether it be in screens or even wheel routes tracking the ball, he still has limited hands and routes. With all that said he still has a skill set that does not come around often and will likely make him another top 10 running back which is rare by today’s standards. With reports that the Jaguars are considering him with the 4th overall pick there has been talk that teams could move up to the 2nd or 3rd pick to take him, but seeing him fall past the Bengals at 9 would be surprising.
Pro Comparison: Herschel Walker