LSU football: Leonard Fournette won’t go No. 1 — and he shouldn’t want to

Nick Suss

Welcome to the Bayou Bengal Briefing, SEC Country’s daily morning column covering LSU football, with LSU beat writer Nick Suss. Today, we discuss Leonard Fournette’s draft stock, recap the LSU football poll, break down Myles Garrett’s choice words and more. Enjoy!

Don’t you put that evil on me

CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora reported on Monday that former LSU football running back Leonard Fournette is “in play” for the Cleveland Browns with the first pick of the 2017 NFL Draft. Which, let’s be real, would be bad for all parties involved.

Let’s get the obvious out of the way first: No one wants to play for the Browns. No one. I don’t think you could convince the ghost of Otto Graham to suit up for this franchise with the state it’s in. And Fournette shouldn’t want to become the face of that mess.

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LSU running back Leonard Fournette (Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

More importantly, Cleveland is a pretty terrible fit for Fournette. The Browns averaged the second-most rushing yards per attempt in the NFL last season (4.9) but couldn’t run the ball that much (with the fewest rushing attempts in football in 2017) because they were always losing and had to throw the ball. Fournette’s not going to fix any of those problems. He’ll just be improving a unit that doesn’t need much improving.

Beyond that, Cleveland has a bad history of picking running backs early. Just ask Trent Richardson, who went from third pick in the loaded 2012 NFL draft to out of football in fewer years than you can count on one hand. And the previous running backs the Browns picked in the first round? William Green (2002), Tommy Vardell (1992), Eric Metcalf (1989) and Charles White (1980). Those four combined to rush for an average of 353 yards per year in 18 seasons in Cleveland.

And, perhaps above else, both parties can do better. Cleveland needs to improve its pass rush, which logged the second-fewest sacks in the NFL last season. Enter Myles Garrett, a prospect as talented as an edge rusher as Fournette is as a running back. And Fournette needs to go to a team with an established quarterback. He can’t afford a repeat of what Alabama did to him the last few seasons in the pros. That’s where a team like Carolina or his hometown of New Orleans would be better.

All in all, I just don’t see the Browns biting on a running back this early, even if he is an historically special one. For which Fournette himself should be pretty thankful.

LSU football poll recap

In Bayou Bengal Briefing on Monday, I asked you which wide receiver you expect the most from for the LSU football team in 2017. More than 500 of you voted in an evenly distributed poll that followed the pattern I expected. Here are your responses:

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As you can see from the graph (pictured right), we have a pretty neat distribution of expectation here. Senior D.J. Chark won the poll with 60 percent of the vote, followed by spring standout Drake Davis, who took 24 percent of the vote.

With a nearly equally proportioned drop as from Chark to Davis, sophomore Dee Anderson slotted in at third with 8 percent of the vote, followed by Russell Gage and Stephen Sullivan, who each garnered 4 percent of the vote.

With this much talent to go around, the easiest thing to see is that my point about this unit being deeper than it looks is pretty valid. Other than Chark, none of these guys are all too proven. But they’re all talented and exciting prospects. Especially Davis, Anderson and Sullivan, given their youth.

As I said Monday, LSU isn’t going to be a passing team so long as Derrius Guice is still on roster. But in 2018, when Guice is in the NFL, don’t be shocked if this team airs it out. It’s a long time coming, but it might be coming soon.

Be sure to check in with the Bayou Bengal Briefing every Monday for our weekly LSU football poll questions.

Another Myles Garrett note

As some of you may have seen over the past couple of days, Garrett, the former Texas A&M defensive end and presumed No. 1 NFL draft pick, had some choice words for former LSU tight end DeSean Smith over the weekend.

Yep. The usually mild-mannered Garrett claimed he “choked out” an LSU tight end, later discovered to be Smith, twice this past season. If you need proof, check it out.

Is this going to spark any animus between Texas A&M and LSU? Probably not. Given the way college football teams pore over film, these two squads probably already knew of these indiscretions. And none of the players involved in the plays will be back for next season.

Still, it’s a little wrinkle to add to the story of Garrett. He might’ve been the best player in college football three years running. But it took some scrappy LSU tight ends to truly get him angry. If that’s not a compliment, I don’t know what is.

Arbitrary Analysis, part 2

The LSU football team is on spring break right now. The Bayou Bengal Briefing is not. But I’m still dreaming of being at the beach. So, Arbitrary Analysis this week is the next best thing: TV episodes about being at the beach.

This week, I’m counting down my five favorite sitcom beach episodes. On Monday, I kicked off the list with my No. 5 pick, a season four classic from Psych. Tuesday, let’s get a little more surreal and a lot more cult. Let’s head to The O.C., but don’t call it that.

No. 4: Spring Breakout (Arrested Development)

Arrested Development was and is the smartest written comedy in TV history. So, really any episode could make any top 5 list. But this episode, where we learn that some Bluth family members believe spring break should be a federal holiday, fits the theme pretty perfectly.

I won’t get too far into the plot because if you haven’t seen Arrested Development, it’ll take about 14 paragraphs for me to get to the point. But it suffices to say that this episode is about magic tricks, drinking contests, Saddam Hussein, self-esteem and, most importantly, spring break WOO.

Count this Zach Braff cameo as one of my favorite in Arrested Development’s incredible-but-short-lived run, up there with Charlize Theron as Rita, Ben Stiller as Tony Wonder and Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Maggie Lizer. And I’m a sucker for any episode where G.O.B. and Michael have to work together. I guess the only way to put it is pretty simple.

This is Arrested Development.

Check back to the Bayou Bengal Briefing on Wednesday for the next pick on my countdown.

Well, that was fast

The Seattle Seahawks signed former LSU track star Cyril Grayson to a contract on Monday, less than a week removed from his pro day showing in Baton Rouge. Grayson hasn’t played football since 2011 when he was a senior at Archbishop Rummel High School. But his 4.33 speed and his four track national championships apparently caught Seattle’s eye, forcing the signing.

Grayson didn’t have to wait for the draft since he spent five years in college and never played football. But his signing bodes well for some former LSU football players in the 2017 draft, especially Malachi Dupre. If a guy who hasn’t played football in nearly six years can latch on with an NFL team, just imagine how high someone like Dupre can be drafted, despite his lack of production in college.

Grayson hasn’t caught a pass since Barack Obama’s first term. If that’s not a lack of production, I don’t know what is.

ICYMI

In case you were busy Monday, here are some great LSU articles you might’ve missed:

There’s a baseball game Tuesday night

The LSU baseball team plays in the Wally Pontiff Jr. Classic Tuesday night versus Louisiana-Lafayette. The game will be played at The Shrine on Airline, home of the New Orleans Baby Cakes, and be broadcast on CST. It’ll also be available for stream on WatchESPN but will be blacked out in markets serviced by CST. You’ll be able to listen to the game on radio on 98.1 FM Baton Rouge and the LSU Sports Radio Network.

Freshman Matthew Beck will make the first start of his college career for the Tigers, but he probably won’t throw more than one inning as coach Paul Mainieri wants to work in as many pitchers as he can.

I’ll be there, as will my SEC Country partner in crime Alex Hickey. If you’re interested in the game but blacked out, or just want quality content to follow, give us a courtesy follow on Twitter at @nicksuss and @bigahickey. You’ll enjoy it. I promise.

Miss a previous edition of the Bayou Bengal Briefing? Find every one of SEC Country’s daily LSU football columns right here.