Colts Coaches Put LSU’s Leonard Fournette Through Positional Drills at Pro Day
According to NFL.com’s Chase Goodbread, members of the Indianapolis Colts coaching staff (along with the New Orleans Saints) put LSU star running back Leonard Fournette through positional drills on Wednesday at the university’s pro day.
Along with FSU’s Dalvin Cook, Fournette is universally considered one of the top running backs in this year’s draft class:
While it doesn’t necessarily demonstrate that the Colts have anymore interest in Fournette than they did prior, it is at least an interesting nugget of information.
It’s worth noting that Fournette showed up at a slimmed down 228 pounds for his pro day–having previously shown up at a ‘controversial’ 240 pounds at the NFL Combine:
The 6’0″, now 220 pound running back is one of the best running back prospects to come out in recent memory.
He’s coming off a junior season in which he rushed for 843 total rushing yards on 129 carries (6.5 ypc avg) and 8 rushing touchdowns in 7 games–having been limited with ankle injuries. Nevertheless, Fournette still earned Second-Team All-SEC honors this past year.
However, Fournette is just one year removed from a monstrous sophomore season, as the former Tigers standout rushed for 1,953 rushing yards on 300 carries (6.5 ypc avg) and a whopping 22 rushing touchdowns in 12 games. As a result, he was awarded First-Team All-American and 1st-Team All-SEC honors in 2015.
In school history, Fournette finished his highly decorated LSU collegiate career with 3,830 rushing yards (4th all-time), 155.7 all purpose yards per game (2nd all-time), 40 rushing touchdowns (4th all-time), and his 1,953 rushing yards in 2015 were the most ever by a Tigers running back in a single-season.
Of course, his NFL.com draft profile sheds further light on just how highly touted of a running back prospect Fournette has become–drawing comparisons to legendary ‘freak athlete’ Bo Jackson:
"NFL Comparison: Bo JacksonBOTTOM LINE: High-end talent with rare blend of size, speed, and power. Comparisons to Adrian Peterson feel lofty, but from a physical standpoint, he’s there. Fournette doesn’t have the wiggle to make defenders miss and his vision can be iffy. However, if your run fits and tackling aren’t sound, he can take it the distance in an instant. May have durability concerns due to physical running style, but has All-Pro potential."
However, such rave reviews aren’t alone:
There’s no question that the Colts could clearly use a long-term answer at the running back position, as incumbent veteran starter Frank Gore is set to turn 34 years old in May.
Armed otherwise with returning veteran backup Robert Turbin, the Colts don’t have any young running back currently on the roster, who is capable of taking over the reins as Gore’s successor.
If Fournette projects to be as great as advertised, the Colts could be hard-pressed to pass on such a talented running back–especially if he can be the caliber of a superstar such as former Minnesota Viking Adrian Peterson (prime) or the Dallas Cowboys Ezekiel Elliott.
Simply put, Fournette would provide the Colts with a between-the-tackles presence, who would theoretically either force opposing defenses to honor an 8-man box (thus, freeing up Andrew Luck and his passing attack) or suffer from ‘death by ground game’ otherwise. Quite frankly, he’s too good of a rusher to not account the proper defenders for (suspect Colts offensive line or not).
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That being said, this is a deep running back class outside of Fournette (and Cook), and the Colts could arguably be better served selecting a young running back in the mid-rounds of this year’s NFL Draft to groom behind (or even push) Gore for the starting gig.
Those needs–especially at edge rusher and cornerback could take precedent over the Colts selecting a running back with the 15th overall pick–even a prospect with superstar potential such as Fournette.