Where Will Leonard Fournette Go In The NFL Draft?
Now that it's official, and we know Leonard Fournette is heading into the NFL Draft, where could he end up?
Considering that the NFL Playoff picture is still very uncertain, we truly don't know where the NFL teams will fall in the draft order, but we can get to that part in just a second, right now, let's see how high the "experts" think Fournette could go in the draft. Here's more on that from the Louisiana Radio Network:
"NFL Draft Analyst Mike Detillier believes LSU running back Leonard Fournette will be a top five pick in the 2017 NFL draft. Fournette announced he’s turning pro after the bowl game, even though he struggled to stay healthy this past season, because of an ankle injury. Detillier says Fournette is still one of the top NFL prospects in the upcoming draft class.
In 2015, Fournette was the first LSU back to achieve the NCAA FBS rushing title."
I will save you the rest of the reading, pretty much every other draft "expert" thinks the same thing. So if he's going to be in the top 5, what teams could be there, and what teams could use a running back? Let's look into our crystal ball...
Either the San Francisco 49ers or Cleveland Browns will likely have the #1 overall pick. The Browns are still winless, and the 49ers only have one win so far (and don't look like they'll be getting any more). But both of these teams have bigger issues than running back.
Next up, it's a train-wreck of teams. The Jaguars, Bears, Jets, Titans (getting their pick from their Los Angeles Rams trade), Panthers, and Bengals. Some of these teams will get a couple of wins to be pushed out of this mix, but there are some locks for Top 5 picks too. Let's just project as best we can...
4. Titans (from Rams)
Now of these teams, the Browns and 49ers need more help than a running back, and the Bears, Titans, and Jaguars all have young running backs already in their fold with Jeremy Langford in Chicago, Derrick Henry in Tennessee, and TJ Yeldon in Jacksonville. So unless one of those teams wins more games, trades their pick, or decides Fournette is better than one of their young backs, Fournette might fall out of the Top 5.
Teams that are in the mix for a Top 10 pick that already have running back in their organization include the Bengals and the Arizona Cardinals. There are a few teams who are right on the line of making the playoffs, or being a Top 10 Draft team. More specifically the Jets, Chargers, Colts, Panthers, and even the New Orleans Saints. The most starved teams for running backs in that mix include the Jets, Panthers, and Saints...with the Dolphins right there too.
So could Leonard Fournette, the Louisiana Legend himself, make his way from high school in New Orleans, to Baton Rouge, then back to New Orleans? It's 100% in the mix...but you'll have to choose between three options: 1. The Saints make the playoffs, and lose out on Fournette. 2. The Saints miss the playoffs, and snag Fournette in the Top 10 picks. 3. The Saints make the playoffs, then spins a trade on Draft Day to get into the Top 10 to grab Fournette anyway.
Aside from injuries, the Saints running game has been their weakest link. You can blame the offensive line, and draft a lineman for a project pick, but that takes time. The Saints need to be in a WIN NOW mode with Drew Brees' age being a concern. So if you're going to win now, get Fournette, sign an offensive lineman, and make this the most magical 3-years in Saints history.