The San Francisco 49ers have been connected to running back Leonard Fournette regularly over the past couple months. We’ve seen reports from Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller, MMQB’s Albert Breer, and DraftAnalyst.com’s Tony Pauline. They have all reported the 49ers are high on the LSU running back.
In his latest 2017 NFL mock draft, Miller is back with Fournette as his pick for the 49ers at No. 2. He had previously changed to Stanford defensive end Solomon Thomas, but he has gone back to a pick he had been making for several weeks. Miller put together a two-round mock draft, and has Missouri defensive end Charles Harris as his second round pick for the 49ers.
I’m not going to say there is no chance the 49ers draft Fournette, but it is hard to reconcile such a pick given the work Shanahan has done in his career with running backs drafted well after the first round. This is his first time with serious say on the draft board, so that is something to factor in. And we don’t know exactly where the 49ers rank Fournette compared to the rest of this year’s class, as well as to past running backs.
This year’s running back class is viewed as fairly deep, so it would make a lot of sense to wait and see what’s there later on day two. At the same time, if you think he’s an Ezekiel Elliott-type of running back and is orders of magnitude better than the other running backs this year, then there could be a debate to be had. But for now, it just seems like a sizable leap given the team’s needs and other running backs in this class.