During their golden age, the Cleveland Browns built themselves around a great running back. Jim Brown is one of the greatest football players of all time, if not the best ever. However, the football world has changed since 1964 and the last Browns NFL Championship. Nowadays, quarterbacks dominate a pass-heavy league. Players like Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers have the NFL in a stranglehold with their amazing arms.
However, this new league doesn’t make running backs any less important. Great running backs can open up an offense, keep the defense guessing, and make a good quarterback great. Fortunately for the Cleveland Browns and Cody Kessler, the 2017 NFL Draft is full of great running back talent. There’s no doubt that the talent is there if the Browns want a halfback. Enter LSU’s dynamic downhill runner, Leonard Fournette.
Cleveland Browns Should Draft Leonard Fournette
A Grown Man’s Running Back
All the hype surrounding Leonard Fournette mainly revolves around one thing: size. Fournette, by running back standards, is a man among boys. Standing at 6’1″ and weighing 240 pounds, Fournette can downright flatten smaller defenders. Oh yeah, and he ran a 4.51 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine this year. Considering his size, that is absolutely insane. Florida State’s Dalvin Cook ran a 4.49, which is technically faster. However, Fournette outweighs him by over 30 pounds.
Many scouts consider Fournette an “old-school” running back. That is to say, he can bowl you over. It’s very clear that Leonard Fournette doesn’t play around on the field. While he can be shifty when he wants to, his game is mainly north-south running. Either defenders are going to get out his way, or Fournette is going to take them out of the way. Certainly, Leonard Fournette’s size alone makes him a top prospect this year.
Aside from just his size, Fournette is a monster of a runner on the field. As mentioned before, his size and speed combination is insane. Although he mostly runs north-south, Fournette also possesses every move in the book. He’s a complete back, and scouts are definitely noticing.
Watching Fournette on film is akin to watching a runaway bulldozer that found its way onto a football field. His second gear is faster than nearly every other college running back, and he outweighs almost all of them. He sheds defenders better than any other running back in the class. Perhaps most importantly, Fournette looks ready for the NFL right now, even though he suffered an injury last year. Leonard Fournette is a monster physically, and he is ready to dominate at the next level.
Strengthen Your Corps
Okay, let’s be honest with ourselves. Although the Browns running backs have shown promise, none of them are fantastic. That’s to be expected from a team that went 1-15, though. While Duke Johnson and Isaiah Crowell are definitely serviceable, they aren’t world-beaters. Leonard Fournette could change all that.
Crowell and “The Duke” often work as a one-two punch, but Johnson is basically a glorified receiver. Ergo, moving Duke Johnson to the slot could work really well for the Browns; perhaps that could be the right way to use him with Hue Jackson. This opens the door for Crowell and Fournette to be a great power running back duo. As far as running backs go, having the Browns work as a committee could be very effective and open up new opportunities for Duke Johnson. Not only does this strengthen the running back corps, but the wide receiver corps as well.
In the simplest of terms, Leonard Fournette is a beast on the football field. In addition to being a physical anomaly, he fits very well with the Browns. Fournette throws it back to the old days of football, and the Browns should definitely be looking into him. Everything adds up for the Browns as long as Fournette is there at number 12. Despite recent rumors, there is no way that the Browns could take him first overall. Remember, the league is ever-changing; a running back will not go first overall. However, the Cleveland Browns could get a serious value pick by taking Leonard Fournette with the 12th overall pick.