LSU running back Leonard Fournette will put his combination of size and speed on full display next week at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, but even before he hits that crucial combine stage, NFL.com analyst Lance Zierlein already has seen enough to compare it to once-a-decade type athletes.
“We’re talking about elite size and speed. When I say elite size and speed, I’m saying Bo Jackson, Herschel Walker, I guess you could say Eric Dickerson, really, because he was bigger than people think, and he was definitely fast,” Zierlein told the NFL Fantasy Live podcast. “And then Adrian Peterson. We’re talking about a very select group of running backs there, spanning a few decades, and Leonard Fournette falls in that group.”
Walker had a lengthy pro career while Jackson’s was cut short by a hip injury, but both stood out as dynamic NFL athletes. Walker amassed over 18,000 all-purpose yards in 12 seasons, while Jackson’s career was more fleeting, but famously so. Add in the suggestions of Dickerson and Peterson in this club, and Fournette couldn’t be in much more impressive company.
While the size and speed traits drove a higher Zierlein draft grade for Fournette than FSU star RB Dalvin Cook, Zierlein sees Cook as the more complete player.
“I think Dalvin Cook’s the better runner. If you just want to put on tape, the more complete running back is Cook, the more skilled running back is Cook,” Zierlein said. “But I’ve got a higher grade on Fournette. … His ability to create through power, create through speed, is unbelievable.”
Noting the same physical traits Zierlein praised, NFL.com analyst Daniel Jeremiah named Fournette one of five prospects to watch on the first day of combine workouts, March 3. Jeremiah ranks Fournette the No. 7 overall prospect in the draft.