Rumors that the San Francisco 49ers could be considering Leonard Fournette at No. 2 overall continue to persist. Following up on a report from last week that the 49ers were “seriously considering” making Fournette their selection with the second pick of the draft, Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune continued to perpetuate that notion.
“Scuttlebutt in league circles Monday night was the 49ers could make LSU’s Leonard Fournette the highest-drafted running back since the Saints selected Reggie Bush No. 2 in 2006,” Biggs wrote.
Frankly, this would be a huge mistake.
While the 49ers do need insurance at running back, given Carlos Hyde’s injury history the past few years, there are better overall players and better fits at running back than Fournette for Mike Shanahan’s offense. If San Francisco is going to take a back high in Round 1, it should do so after having moved down a few slots at least and it should make Christian McCaffrey the selection (we detailed this exact scenario here).
Fournette might end up being the next Adrian Peterson. But he’s not a multi-dimensional back — not a great receiver or pass blocker — and isn’t particularly nimble when running between the tackles. He’s a runaway freight train when he gets loose, but those instances are going to be much less frequent at the NFL level than he saw during his LSU playing days.
If the 49ers do have to make a pick at No. 2 — something they’d rather not do, per everyone reporting on the draft — then they’d be better off taking one of the top defensive backs. Or, if they’re sold on a quarterback, take the flying leap and nab him. We don’t buy that scenario, however, and believe the 49ers are just doing everything they can to build up hype for the No. 2 overall selection so they can lure a team into making a big trade for that pick.