In 2017, Leonard Fournette was the fourth overall pick in the NFL Draft. Three years later, he is reportedly on the trading block.
Fournette has been effective when healthy, but he’s missed 12 games through his first three seasons.
What should we make of him as a running back at this point?
“It’s hard to say because I know the athleticism and what he was coming into the league, and it seemed as if in Jacksonville they wanted a battering ram,” Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk said on Tiki & Tierney. “They wanted the identity of play tough, hard-nosed defense, run the ball and have a quarterback that can just facilitate – and that’s just not the game. I think that he’s a full-service running back. He can play three downs. But the question is durability.”
Fournette, 25, battled foot and ankle injuries throughout his career at LSU. It appears his injury history followed him to the NFL.
"He dished a lot of punishment and he took a lot of punishment when he was in college,” Faulk said, “and coming into the league, you have what you have.”
Looking at this year’s crop of running backs, Jonathan Taylor, D’Andre Swift, and J.K. Dobbins figure to be the first backs off the board. But will any of them go in the first round?
“There’s quite a few guys that I believe can be a first-rounder, but we’re just in one of those years where two teams made the Super Bowl without a star running back,” Faulk said. “And when that happens, guess what? Nobody wants to draft a running back because what teams are trying to figure out is where do we put money? Where do we spend money? San Francisco showed you [that you should] platoon a running back and have a good defense and a quarterback that can sometimes make throws, and here’s what you get. Kansas City showed you, hey, put anybody at running back, have a good quarterback, and here’s what you can do.”