PFF scouting report: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU

The PFF analysis team takes a look into Fournette's college career, as well as the former LSU Tiger's draft prospects.

| 2 months ago
Leonard Fournette

(Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

PFF scouting report: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU


School: LSU

Position fit: Running back

Stats to know: Led the nation in 2015 with 85 missed tackles forced.

What he does best:

  • Powerful runner who hits the point of attack hard and will actively take on defenders.
  • Excellent at keeping his feet churning through contact to continue gaining yards.
  • Had the second-most yards gained after contact in 2015, behind only Alabama’s Derrick Henry, and averaged more after contact per carry than Henry.
  • At his best in 2015, Fournette was capable of stringing multiple moves together in order to better maximize his runs.
  • Quick acceleration allows him to burst through holes and beat angles by safeties.
  • Utilizes spin move and stiff arm well to make defenders miss and create separation.
  • Ran a heavy amount of zone and pin-pull blocking schemes.
  • Physical pass blocker who recorded a pass-blocking efficiency of 97 percent or higher in all three years, albeit on a small sample size.

Biggest concerns:

  • Sometimes on zone runes, Fournette doesn’t press long enough, and can be too quick to cut back when the intended point of attack actually does open up.
  • When LSU’s blocking was poor in 2016, Fournette was unable to create on his own as often as he did in previous seasons, possibly due to an ankle injury.
  • Limited experience as a receiver, with only 40 career receptions.
  • Dropped 8 of 48 catchable targets in his career.
  • Stayed in to pass block just 132 times in his career, less than 30 percent of passing plays.
  • Physicality as a runner and blocker may cause concerns about his durability

Player comparison: Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams

Bottom line:

Like Gurley, Fournette has a size-speed blend that doesn’t come around often. He’s a powerful runner who consistently finishes runs through contact. His 2015 performance as a runner is the highest grade for a running back in the past three seasons of PFF grading. Fournette dealt with an ankle injury during the 2016 season, forcing him to miss multiple games. When Fournette was able to play, he was not nearly as effective of a runner as he was in his impressive sophomore campaign, outside of a train-wreck defensive performance by Ole Miss. As long as Fournette gets back to full health, it may actually end up benefitting him by preventing another 300-plus carry season. His blocking was considerably better in 2015, and when he was provided with clear paths this past year, he still rattled off long runs. But when his blocking and reads were murkier this past season, he was at times indecisive and quick to abandon the intended point of attack, and not nearly as effective at making defenders miss. Teammate Derrius Guice was considerably more productive running behind the same offensive line. The biggest question around Fournette may be whether the decrease in his effectiveness was solely due to injury, or if there are other aspects at play.

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  • Tim Edell

    Athletically and if healthy there hasn’t been a RB coming out with this type of ability since AP. Line him up like AP with a FB in front of him and make him the focal point of your offense. He is much better running gap scheme where can make his read off the FB then he is on outside zone runs.

    • Terry

      He has no team spirit. He was afraid of getting hurt at lsu. I wouldn’t take a chance on him

    • Fred Kruse

      Ezekiel?

  • Mike J.

    RB’s are nice to have, & they make a coach’s job easier, but they don’t win championships.

    • Paradox

      Missed the James White express huh?

  • JWeav

    Can anyone tell me what Karl Joseph’s grade is, I don’t have premium

    • Matt

      77.5

  • Matt

    Closest comparisons would be Steven Jackson & Jamal Lewis IMO. All 3 players around 6’0-6’1 235-240lbs. North-South runners that run through people rather than around them. Gurley comparison is weak at best. Todd has 2 years in the league and the second was forgettable so what year am I suppose to be comparing to? Until the combine results show that he runs faster than a 4.55 then those 2 guys are my comparison. If he does run faster than Ill come back to this but I really don’t see him running any faster than 4.5 to warrant a Bo Jackson Adrian Peterson comparison.

    • Carl Cockerham

      He’s not Bo Jackson no matter what. (4.12) But he’s faster than Steven Jackson and Jamal Lewis and if he’s healthy, he’ll beat 4.5.

      • Mike J.

        Nobody is Bo. Case closed.

        • Carl Cockerham

          Just said that.

    • Some Random

      Overweight a few pounds and playing on a bum ankle Fournette hit a top speed of 22.9 MPH vs Ole Miss. Tyreke Hill (who ran a 4.24 at his pro day) has the top NFL speed over the last 3 seasons when he hit 23.24 MPH (and 22.77 MPH in another game). Next fastest is Desean Jackson’s 22.6 MPH (Desean ran a 4.35). I’m expecting Fournette to run somewhere between a 4.3-4.45 even if he’s hurt (similar to AP who ran a 4.38 on a bum ankle).

  • Anon_User_123

    His 30 yards per game (and 16 yards on 16 carries) vs. Alabama over the past two years is telling. It’s not the injury, it’s the defense. He’s going to fail in the NFL as he won’t be able to overpower weaker defenders. Should not be drafted, certainly not as a high rounder.