With the recent news today that the Jacksonville Jaguars have released former first round pick Leonard Fournette it sparks the question, “Was Leonard Fournette really worth the 4th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft?” Short answer, hell no he wasn’t. However this brings up and proves another point that I have been a believer of for quite awhile. No running back is worth a top pick and running backs aren’t worth a big contract.
Leonard Fournette completely flopped as the 4th overall pick and the Jaguars were unable to get ANYTHING for Fournette. Adam Schefter reported that the Jacksonville Jaguars were unable to get a 5th or 6th round pick for the former Heisman winner. The former 4th overall pick couldn’t even get a 5th or 6th round pick, rounds that some people consider throw away rounds.
Leonard Fournette is far from the only running back that was an absolute waste of a first round pick, let’s look at a few others.
Rashaad Penny was a first round pick by the Seattle Seahawks in the 2018 NFL Draft. He’s injury prone and has never had more than 500 scrimmage yards in a year. He has been completely outplayed by Chris Carson. Sony Michel for the New England Patriots hasn’t panned out as everyone thought he would. He was also a first round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft and is facing a make or break year. He has never had over 1000 rushing yards in a season. Ezekiel Elliot has been producing when it comes to numbers, but what have the Dallas Cowboys won with him? The Cowboys haven’t made a conference championship in the 21st century. Melvin Gordon, former first round pick in 2015, tried to holdout and proved just how replaceable he is. Giovani Bernard was a first round pick in 2013, he’s never had over 730 rushing yards in a season. What more proof do you need? Running backs simply are not worth first round picks.
Failed Running Back Contracts
Teams make mistakes all the time by drafting running backs in the first round. However an even worse mistake is paying a running back, let’s look at some running back contracts that have completely flopped. Before the 2019 season Le’veon bell signed a 4-year deal that can be worth up to $61 million with the New York Jets. He has failed to come even close to recreating the production he had with the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers made Le’Veon Bell, he’s nothing if everything around him isn’t great. Another very regrettable contract was the Todd Gurley contract. It was a mistake that turned into an instant regret for the Los Angeles Rams. Gurley was dumped immediately. When everything around Gurley isn’t great, he not only struggles but he stinks.
Running Backs aren’t worth high draft capital or large contracts, they’re just too common and replaceable. If you believe otherwise I have no idea what to say to you, the evidence speaks for itself.