Former franchise great Maurice Jones-Drew thinks Leonard Fournette will be a top 10 running back in 2018 – but just barely.
After being selected with the 4th pick of the 2017 NFL Draft, Leonard Fournette donned the black and teal with higher expectations than perhaps any rookie in Jacksonville Jaguars’ history. Fournette was touted as a generational talent coming out of LSU, but the loss of value in the running back position over the past decade made the choice to draft him so high a questionable one.
In other words, Fournette would have to be great right away to justify his selection.
While his first year certainly had its ups and downs, overall it was a resounding success as he compiled over a thousand yards rushing and double-digit touchdowns. There’s room to improve as he prepares for his sophomore season, but the ceiling appears to be very high.
If he reaches his potential, Fournette could be the best running back in the league.
MJD doesn’t think he’s quite there yet.
In his recent running back rankings, Maurice Jones-Drew managed to sneak the Jacksonville rookie sensation in to the top 10.
"9. Leonard Fournette RB JaguarsAfter a superb rookie campaign for Fournette and historic season for the Jags, expectations are sky high. The key for Fournette, who cracked 1,000 yards in 13 games last year, is staying healthy and playing all 16 games. The offense is at its best when he’s on the field."
Jones-Drew is clearly weighing a lot of factors here and I can’t really disagree with his assessment too much. Based purely on his rookie production, Fournette isn’t a top 5 running back yet. He had lingering injury issues and was suspended for a game by the team for violating team rules. Beyond his physical traits, Fournette needs to be available every week to have top 5 value.