Leonard Fournette reportedly has a chance to be the first player taken in the 2017 NFL Draft.
CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora reported Monday that Fournette is “being considered at the highest reaches of the first round.” Multiple scouts and executives have said the former LSU running back could surprise people with how high he is selected.
“Some have suggested to me that Fournette is even in play at No. 1 with the Browns,” La Canfora wrote. “Yes, you read that correctly. I don’t see that happening, and in the end, I suspect the Browns take pass rusher Myles Garrett. But then again, the Browns are capable of some extreme curveballs in that front office and their version of analytics tends to swing outside of convention.”
Fournette shocked scouts when he ran a blazing 4.51 in the 40-yard dash at the combine. That was just .01 seconds slower than Florida State’s Dalvin Cook, widely considered the faster of the two backs.
Then Fournette showed up to LSU Pro Day having lost 12 pounds since his weigh-in at the combine. That may have alleviated yet another concern about his NFL potential.
Those freakish measurables back up a substantial body of work on the field. Fournette ran for 843 yards and eight touchdowns last season despite playing just seven games due injury. As a junior, he ran for 1,953 yards and 22 touchdowns.
While La Canfora doesn’t believe Fournette will be selected first overall, he thinks there’s a good chance he goes in the top five. Scouts apparently consider him a “best-of-breed” player. So without a sure-fire quarterback prospect, teams might take a chance on Fournette, even if it is a little earlier than normal to take a running back.