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Sam’s Film Room: Leonard Fournette’s power and speed make him a Top 10 pick

Alabama v LSU Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

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Leonard Fournette was the number one running back in the 2014 high school class, and number two overall behind only Myles Garrett. He had offers from all over the country, but decided to sign with his home state LSU Tigers.

Standing at 6’1 240 pounds, Fournette is a thickly built man with a very powerful lower half. He is a north-to-south downhill runner with an upright running style. He loves contact and does a great job of lowering his center of gravity to meet defenders in the hole. He keeps his feet moving and runs with a good forward lean to gain yards after he is tackled. He is a team player and chases down defenders for tackles after his quarterback makes a costly error.

Out of all the prospects in this class, he is my number one running back based on his upside, power, and breakaway speed.

At LSU, he ran a mixture of zone and gap-style concepts. Namely isolation, inside zones, and toss plays to get him to the edge. If I was an offensive coordinator, I would not run him on any outside running plays from shotgun. I don’t believe he has the hip flexibility nor the running style to support the angles required to hit the hole properly. He would be much better at running from Singleback, Offset-I formation, or I-formation with a fullback to get his momentum going north-to-south. He is a workhorse back, with average hands out of the backfield. LSU did not use him as a receiver very often, but used him in pass protection to help the offensive line. With his size, he is an above average blocker, but struggles in space due to his hip flexibility.

At the NFL Combine, he ran a 4.51 40-yard dash, cementing his status as a top 10 pick — it’s only .04 seconds slower than Ezekiel Elliott, who is 15 pounds lighter than Fournette. Finding a direct parallel for his size and power is very difficult, but I think Adrian Peterson from the Minnesota Vikings of the current modern era of running backs fits him the best stylistically.

In the top 10, I see a number of teams that would love his ability. The New York Jets at six and Carolina Panthers at eight are most likely in my opinion. With the Panthers, for example, he would be at his best running toss and power plays with their pulling offensive lineman. He could fit a pure zone running team based on his talent, but he looks much more comfortable when LSU ran gap-style plays instead.

As far as the Seattle Seahawks are concerned, they would not be able to draft him unless they traded up in the NFL Draft. Personally, I feel like Dalvin Cook or Christian McCaffrey are both better fits for the team, but Fournette has the talent and ability to make any offense better.