It should be no surprise that Leonard Fournette has forgone his final season of eligibility to enter the NFL Draft. The junior running back made the announcement on Monday and he was expected to do this since last season when he went off for over 1,900 yards on the ground and 22 touchdowns.
Some of the national pundits have him as the second-best prospect in the 2017 draft, but the problem with that is that there are several teams that are set to have success with their run game for some time. Look at players like Ezekiel Elliot and the emergence of Jay Ajayi; you’ll see that the running back position is becoming more and more instrumental in a team’s success. The biggest question is who will pick up one of the more prolific backs in recent LSU history?
The Case for Jacksonville:
The Jacksonville Jaguars have been taking strides toward becoming better. Injuries to some of their most recent top draft picks have slowed down this team along with having an underwhelming offensive line have hindered the run game. There are a lot of teams that would love to have Fournette, but with the amount of backs that they have definitely make it a less than stellar destination.
The Case for Cleveland:
The factory of sadness has been just that, and still seeking a win as the month of December is just starting. It seems obvious that they will be the team on the clock to start the NFL Draft and could pick up a really good running back as their current backs aren’t setting the world on fire. However, this team is a complete mess and has way more holes to fill than at the position of running back.
The Case for the Jets:
The New York Jets are still underperforming largely because of an underperforming QB and a middle of the road defense. If there’s a team that would like to have a star back like Fournette, it’s this team. The Jets currently have former Tulane back Matt Forte as their main guy, but he is almost 31 years old which is pretty old for that position. This is all speculation at this point as the draft order may be shuffled up with trades before the big, but as of right now this could be a good fit for Fournette.
The Case for the Packers:
This is a slight stretch, but with the injuries to Eddie Lacy and the run game being virtually nonexistent after that it could be a possibility. Green Bay may need to trade up to get him if teams aren’t concerned with the ankle injury that plagued him for much of his 2016 campaign. If there are teams higher up that are, then Fournette could fall to Green Bay.