In a running back class that is particularly top-heavy with talent this year, Leonard Fournette has jumped to the top of the class and will likely be the first at his position to be taken come April 27.
Fournette is a physical specimen with a muscular build resembling a linebacker and the speed of a receiver. He can change gears in the blink of an eye, and has the ability to bounce runs to the outside and accelerate up the field. He has a powerful lower body, which allows him to “bring the hammer” and break multiple tackles before being brought down. He runs with a low shoulder, using his shoulder as well as his stiff arm as a battering ram. He’s a violent runner who keeps running his feet after first and second contact, and has better-than-average hands. Fournette has the versatility to bust out a 75-yard touchdown run and pound the ball past the pylons in goal-line situations.
For all of his attributes, Fournette has drawn comparisons to Bo Jackson, and unfortunately, the comparisons don’t stop there. Like Jackson, Fournette has a smash-mouth style of play that could potentially lead to an injury-plagued career, but the rewards far outweigh the risks of drafting him. He also needs to work on his pass protection and overall vision, but that can all be fixed in the film room and with countless reps during training camp.
Overall, he would be a great fit with the Giants, who can’t rely on the still unproven Paul Perkins or Orleans Darkwa to be their feature backs. If Fournette somehow falls into their lap in the first round, the Giants would be fools not to pick him. However, virtually every mock draft out there has him going in the top 10, making it almost a certainty that the Giants will not be able to draft him. If the Giants do in fact want to find their feature back in this draft, they’ll have to either wait until one of the later rounds, use their first round pick on the next best back available (Dalvin Cook, Christian McCaffrey, D’Onta Foreman, etc.) or try to sign free agent Adrian Peterson.