I love to call the NFL Draft the silly season, because players soar up draft boards because they test well in their underwear; other players fall simply because they stuck around college too long. If he was a great prospect, he would have left early, right?
And then there’s the case of Leonard Fournette. The LSU star did a Heisman pose after his first touchdown, then never won a Heisman. He never sniffed a title, but did run for 1,953 yards as a sophomore, and punished people like this:
As we inch closer to the draft, there’s some debate about Fournette vs Dalvin Cook, but when you give NFL people the ability to be anonymous, you get stuff like this, comparing Fournette to Bo Jackson, who is only one of the greatest athletes in all of sports in the last 40 years:
“He’s head and shoulders above everybody else.” Compared by scouts to Bo Jackson, Jonathan Stewart and Derrick Henry. “There’s similar things to Bo: size, twitch, explosion, burst, power,” said a second scout. “I could have written his report as a freshman. It didn’t take long to see he was a different bird. He’s not normal. Last year he had some of the most dynamic 2-yard gains you will ever see.”
That’s a wide range, right? Bo Jackson was run into the ground at Auburn (while winning a Heisman and staking claim to part of the National title in 1983) and amazingly he never had a 1,000 yard season in the NFL. If you watched his highlight reel, you’d think he was in the Barry Sanders/Emmitt Smith class:
Bo Jackson played 38 NFL games! He also played MLB at the same time. But still, is it a good thing that Fournette is being compared to Jackson? From a marketing perspective, certainly.
But as a pro prospect? Jonathan Stewart isn’t nearly as sexy, but he’s lasted nine years and had a 1,000 yard season. Injuries plagued him, too. Fournette’s punishing style and heavy weight are huge red flags for me. He could burn bright in sports, and maybe even have one monster season, but long term, is he going to be a franchise running back?