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CSC Roundtable: Should the Saints Draft Leonard Fournette?

He’d be an explosive part of the New Orleans offense, that’s for sure.

Mississippi v LSU Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

In a continuation of a previous series, we thought we would let the readers see the inner conversations of contributors here at Canal Street Chronicles, where we each can weigh in on a topic and share our thoughts. We don’t always agree with each other, so view our thoughts below and comment with your thoughts.

LSU v Arkansas Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Should the New Orleans Saints draft LSU RB Leonard Fournette if he’s available at pick #11 in the 2017 NFL Draft?

Contributors in the conversation: Super Saiyan Saint (SSS), Kevin Skiver (Kevin), J.M. DiGiulo (JM), John Hendrix (Hendrix), Chris Dunnells (Dunz), Deuce Windham (Rev), and Adam Williamson (Adam).


Dunz - So I'm of the position that RB is a luxury pick for the Saints at 11. The Saints have too many holes on defense that they could address there. The odds that Fournette is Best Player Available above all of the Edge Rushers, Corners and Reuben Foster is unlikely.

Hendrix - I doubt Leonard Fournette makes it past a team like the Panthers. That being said, they really need to give him an offensive line. With the Saints, if he's there...yes - he'd absolutely help the offense and be a ridiculous combo with Mark Ingram. Is Fournette the running back of the future? Can't honestly say that's the direction to go. Fournette does some great things, but at the same time his injuries are concerning.

Dunz - There's also talk that if the Panthers DO select a Running Back with their pick, Fournette isn't their top guy. Rumors and murmurs, but still. So there is definitely a chance Fournette is there, regardless of if the Panthers decide to draft a RB.

Kev - With the Saints, this isn't an Ezekiel Elliott to the Cowboys situation. Dallas was shored up elsewhere and they had an identity they wanted to cultivate offensively. New Orleans is too mediocre in too many places to go with Fournette. They need an impact defensive player early.

Adam - If Fournette is there at 11- you take him. This draft class is so deep at edge and CB (and a LB past Alabama’s Rueben Foster isn't worth a pick at 11th overall). So if Fournette is at 11, nab him. Hope Harris or Charlton falls to the Saints at 43rd overall, then pick up a corner at 75. Fournette can prolong Brees’s career and take the load off of Mark Ingram.

Hendrix - Fournette would definitely help the Saints offense. But Ingram is your bell cow. He's the workhorse. They'd be better off using that early pick on defense and getting a Sproles-like back in the mid to late rounds.

JM - The Saints just can't do it. Not only is RB a luxury pick, but Fournette doesn't fill the specific RB need the Saints currently have. Ingram is a fine 3rd down option, but the Saints don't have a truly “special” receiving threat at RB. Nobody that can run option routes when in the slot, or vertical routes when split out wide. Fournette is fantastic but his additition wouldn't fill that void either.

Dunz - Ingram stepped up his receiving last season in his first opportunity to catch out of the backfield. I'm not sure the Saints NEED that type of backup. They did just fine last year without a Sproles/Bush/Spiller type.

Hendrix - The only way, and I mean the only reason is to get your RB of the future. But there's virtually no point since Ingram is locked up until 2019. Ingram's value is ridiculous.

JM - I agree, Hendrix. Ingram has fantastic contractual value in his physical prime. There’s no need to search for a replacement for his role.

Hendrix - Ingram's cap goes from $2.51M - $5.2M - $6.2M by the time he's 28. Tell me that's not a bargain.

Dunz - So let's pretend that Fournette is there at 11 and is your “BPA” by a tiny margin (Barnett, etc. are already gone). Do you still take him there? I'd prefer to find a team that values him more and trade back. An unlikely situation for the Saints to actually take, but my personal preference.

Adam - Fournette is a generational type player and can only extend lives of our offensive veterans. This class is incredibly deep at defensive positions besides linebacker and you can find starting caliber cornerbacks in round 4. If I'm Loomis- I take Fournette. Not only does he help extend Brees and Ingram’s careers, but he's the sexy pick. Sure, DE and CB are bigger needs, but with this draft- you can find those starters in Rounds 2 and 3 arguably.

Kevin - But given that Fournette is arguably the best player in this draft, talking about BPA gets moot pretty quickly.

Dunz - That's why the operative word is "arguably," Kevin. No guarantee the Saints view him above Garrett, for instance.

Adam - Fournette is the second or third best player in the draft. He will absolutely be BPA at 11. Maybe not over Garret, But I assure you they have Fournette ahead of Barnett-Charlton-Lattimore simply because he's better.

JM - I agree with Dunz. I'd prefer to add additional capital in a remarkably talented draft by trading with a team that covets him.

JH - If Fournette is there when the Saints draft at No. 11 and another team wants him bad enough to trade up. I'm game.

Dunz - What are the chances Fournette's game doesn't translate to the NFL? Any Fournette proponents afraid of that?

Rev - I think he translates fine, I'm worried about his health though.

Kevin - Fournette's game is murderdeathkill; he'll translate to the NFL fine.

Adam - Very slim his game doesn't translate well.

Hendrix - Fournette put out great tape. He runs like a pro.

Kevin - Like Rev said, health is a concern for sure. Although, I'm suspicious LSU played up a lot of his injuries to protect his investment.

Rev - Honestly, McCaffrey is the best "fit" in the 1st round, in terms of talent per round, but its too high at 11th overall.

JM - I am of the belief that Dalvin Cook would be a better option if the Saints were to go for a RB, even though I would prefer them not select a RB with their first pick.

Rev - I don't want Cook or Fournette. This is a deep RB class. I like the value of Running Backs in the 4th.

SSS - Saints should avoid Fournette because he's system-defined, not scheme-versatile. He's not a natural fit in New Orleans and they won't maximize him. It's not a lack of ability, but he will be a fraction of what he can be here. McCaffery is the best fit and Cook has the highest ceiling if you want to consider weapons in the first.

Dunz - Rev, If the Saints were guaranteed to trade back up to say 25th overall after selecting a player like Barnett at 11, would you take McCaffrey or Deshaun Watson? Just between those.

Rev - If we go back into 1st, I'd take McCaffrey out of those two.

Dunz - And Rev, weren't you worried about Reuben Foster's health too? Which injury concerns you more longterm?

Rev - Because of how Foster plays/attacks, his injury scares me more, to be honest. The dude treats his upper body like it's a spear.

Dunz - Final thoughts? Adam - sell me on why the Saints should take Fournette if he's there at 11.

Adam - First, he's clearly best player available there. Second, he extends the career of Drew Brees. Third, he helps take the load off Ingram and extends his career too. And he has the potential to be an all-pro RB for the next 10 years. Fournette is a once a generation type runner. Injuries are a minor concern. He's built like a Greek god and will have better conditioning and dieting in the NFL, so I doubt it'll be a huge concern. The kid is as talented as you'll find at RB. I'm a major proponent of taking the best player available, and he's just that after pick #1 when Miles Garret goes.

Dunz - JM or Kevin, want to take the counterpoint to Adam's response to close it out?

Kevin - I've never been a proponent of BPA. I want someone that makes your team quantifiably better at a position where you're weak in Round. 1. And we're weak to average in a lot of areas.

JM - The problem with the BPA-strategy this year is that it's unlikely the Saints will be able to address glaring needs in free agency, given the string of franchise tags on pass rushers. It's normally a fine strategy, but the Saints most likely won't have that luxury.

Rev - Adrian Peterson was a once-a-decade player too, Adam, and didn't take the Vikings to the Super Bowl once (although, they did get close...). I'm not denying Fournette’s ceiling, I’m just saying it doesn't help us get closer to another ring.


So there you go. Was there anything said in our roundtable that you agree with? Something you absolutely hate? Tell us in the comments! Share you thoughts - do you think the New Orleans Saints should draft LSU’s Leonard Fournette? Tell us in the comments. Send me presents.