This is the fifth in a series highlighting players who could be selected by the New York Jets with the sixth overall pick in the April 27 draft:
Player: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
Height/weight: 6-foot, 228 pounds
Scouts, Inc. ranking: No. 5.
Draft projection: Fourth to 12th.
Scouting report: Fournette is one of the best running back prospects in years, a rare blend of power and speed (4.51 seconds in the 40). He probably was ready for the NFL after his freshman season, maybe sooner. He has the ability to run over linebackers or run away from them. As a kid, he trained by doing 1,500 push ups and 1,000 sit ups a day, resulting in a chiseled body by the time he was in high school. He's a north-south runner with elite acceleration if he has a runway. The knock on Fournette is that he's impatient, doesn't wait for holes to develop and doesn't see cutback lanes. He's an adequate receiver and a so-so blocker.
Key stats: He finished his career with 3,830 rushing yards and 40 touchdowns -- in only 32 games. He averaged an obscene 6.2 yards per carry, including 6.8 yards against ranked teams not named Alabama. The Crimson Tide was his kryptonite, as he averaged only 48 yards per game in three meetings. Fournette played in one- and two-back sets, although his production was significantly better when there was another back in the game -- 6.36 yards per rush and 33 touchdowns with two backs, 5.1 yards and five with one back, per ESPN Stats & Information. The numbers were similar when the quarterback was under center (6.53, 36) as opposed to shotgun (5.27, four). Scouts say he's best in a traditional, power-running system. Some wonder if he'll be a scheme fit for the Jets, who likely will employ a West Coast offense.
Red flags: There could be a minor durability concern for some teams. Fournette suffered a preseason ankle injury last August and it nagged him throughout the year, causing him to miss five games. He skipped LSU's bowl game because he didn't want to get injured and damage his draft stock, which may have rubbed some NFL evaluators the wrong way. He also raised eyebrows by showing up to the scouting combine at 240 pounds and posting a below-average vertical jump (28.5 inches), slightly below the threshold for predicting success in the NFL. He fumbled eight times in 657 touches, not a great ratio.
In his own words: "(This journey) came fast. Not for a second in my mind I thought I'd be in the NFL, coming up from New Orleans, out of the 'hood, 7th Ward. It's a dream come true, a blessing." On whether the perception of running backs is changing: "Most definitely. With the running backs we've got in our class and next year's running backs, a lot is going to change. With this group, a lot of these players are going to succeed in the NFL and contribute as soon as they get there."
Scouts' take: NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah: "This is a pretty special player. I wouldn't rule him out potentially being off the board before Jacksonville picked (at No. 4), either with San Francisco maybe surprising us a little bit (at No. 2), or if somebody tried to get up there ahead of them, ahead of Jacksonville. He's not going to go to an offensive line as good as Ezekiel Elliott's, but I think he has a chance to be a big-time player." ... AFC scout: "If there's a hole, he's dangerous. If not, he doesn't have enough wiggle to get out of trouble. He needs a good offensive line."