NFL Draft 2017: Leonard Fournette's 5 best fits include Browns, Panthers

Leonard Fournette, the most coveted running back in the NFL draft, makes sense as an early selection for these five teams.

Leonard Fournette is the most coveted running back in the 2017 NFL Draft. He won't last long on the draft board, and a team will need a high first-round pick — or the means to trade up for one — to select the LSU prospect.

Fournette has a rare combination of size, speed and explosiveness and would work well in any backfield.

But here are the five NFL teams that make the most sense to land his services, based on what his pure running style would bring them.

MORE: Mock Draft | Big Board

NFL Draft 2017: Leonard Fournette's 5 best fits


Cleveland Browns

Cleveland is sitting on both the No. 1 and No. 12 picks. Although Fournette can't be completely ruled out for first overall since his stock will continue to rise after the Combine, it's more likely the Browns target him with their second first-rounder.

Coach Hue Jackson wants to make a powerful feature back the centerpiece of the offense, and Isaiah Crowell isn't totally built to be that guy. Fournette is on a different level with his talent for the position. The challenges come in whether the Browns can afford to slide up from 12th or make an early offensive skill pick with other huge holes on both sides of the ball.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Jacksonville's returns with the Chris Ivory-T.J. Yeldon committee were limited, as both the durability and situational production weren't there last season. The team needs a reliable running game with a home-run threat to help get Blake Bortles right in the passing game.

The Jags have been hit-or-miss with their recent first-rounders, but this pick has a chance to be smacked right out of the park.


Carolina Panthers

If the Jaguars go in a different direction at No. 4, Carolina might have a clear shot at Fournette by standing pat at No. 8. The Jets could spoil things in between, but he'd be more of a "luxury pick" for New York. For the Panthers, Fournette would fill a need.

Jonathan Stewart turns 30 in March, and even though it looks like he'll remain on the team, the Panthers have to think about replacing him with a young hammer. The thought of big, strong, athletic freaks Cam Newton and Fournette working in the same rush-heavy offense is scary.

MORE: Yes, Panthers will draft a RB

New Orleans Saints

Running back won't be the first-round route for Cincinnati at No. 9 or Buffalo at No. 10, and New Orleans is next in line at No. 11. Mark Ingram disappointed for much of last season, prompting the team to mix in more of Tim Hightower, who turns 31 in May.

The Saints need even more help on their defense, anywhere in the back seven, but the best corner, safety or linebacker available might not mesh with this selection. Beyond Fournette's ability to add big backfield pop to the fast track of the Superdome, it doesn't hurt that he was born on the Bayou and is built to be a superstar in his hometown.

MORE: Who really is draft's best RB?

Oakland Raiders

Oakland has defense on its radar, too, and for now, the Raiders are well out of reach for Fournette at No. 24 overall. But if he slips out of the top five, don't sleep on the Raiders being aggressive to trade up and get him.

There's a good chance their early-down starter, Latavius Murray, walks as a free agent. With Derek Carr and the passing game all set, Fournette, along with one more line upgrade, would add a special dimension of balance and explosiveness to a Raiders offense that can vie to be the best in the league.


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