Ahead of the 2017 NFL Draft, LSU running back Leonard Fournette has drawn the interest of teams like the Carolina Panthers and Jacksonville Jaguars. But based on a new report, he may not be around that long.
There is a apparently a strong possibility that Fournette will be off the board after the second pick.
“Sources with knowledge of the situation tell me the San Francisco 49ers are very high on Fournette and are seriously considering using the second pick of the draft to acquire him,” Tony Pauline of draftanalyst.com wrote. “The new front office wants a bigger back to run the offense and they’re ready to give up on Carlos Hyde, who has had his struggles staying healthy since being drafted by the franchise in 2014.”
It’s not a surprise that the 49ers are interested in Fournette. But a running back taken that high is not at all common. The last running back to be taken in the top-two was Reggie Bush, who was selected second overall by the New Orleans Saints in 2006. Since then, the only running backs to be taken in the top-five have been Darren McFadden (No. 4, 2008), Trent Richardson (No. 3, 2012), and Ezekiel Elliott (No. 4, 2016).
So, history offers the 49ers quite a mixed bag.
Given how much Hyde has struggled to stay on the field, it’s not a surprise that the 49ers are looking to move away from him. But taking any running back at No. 2 is a gamble, even if he is a unique talent like Fournette.