Leonard Fournette Draft Pick Was Even Worse Than You Think

Jason Schandl
Here's why the Jacksonville Jaguars drafting Leonard Fournette in 2017 was even worse than you think.
Here's why the Jacksonville Jaguars drafting Leonard Fournette in 2017 was even worse than you think. / Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

To say it was controversial when Tom Coughlin and the Jacksonville Jaguars selected Leonard Fournette with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft would be an understatement. The RB position has been devalued in recent years, and drafting one top five will always draw some criticism.

When the pick works out, like Ezekiel Elliott or Saquon Barkley, that criticism tends to fade a bit. Now that the Jags have officially released Fournette, however, that criticism is once again at the forefront.

Even if you want to look past the concerns about drafting an RB early, check out some of the elite players at the same position that the Jags could have had later in the draft.

The 2017 draft class produced some of the best running backs in the NFL. Six of the backs on that list finished top 12 in the NFL in yards from scrimmage in the 2019 season, and a seventh (Alvin Kamara) finished 15th.

Admittedly, Fournette finished sixth in yards from scrimmage last year, so you could argue that he doesn't look too bad in that stat.

Looking at Pro Football Focus' running back grades paints an even more damning picture of the pick. Four of those backs selected after Fournette (Christian McCaffrey, Austin Ekeler, Aaron Jones and Chris Carson) finished in the top nine of PFF's overall running back grades. All of them except Tarik Cohen finished in the top 33.

Fournette, however, finished just 47th among 58 qualifying running backs. He wasn't just bad for a first-round pick — he was straight up bad.

If the Jags didn't take Fournette at No. 4 overall, there would have been better RBs that would have been viable picks just about every time they were on the clock. Plus, Jacksonville famously selected Fournette over elite names like Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson and Jamal Adams.

The Jaguars have developed a terrible track record in the NFL Draft over the past decade, and the Fournette pick certainly plays a big role in that.

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Jason Schandl is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Jason Schandl also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Jaymun. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.