The question was’t whether or not Leonard Fournette would hear his name called in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft. It was a matter of when. The LSU running back, who has been compared to Adrian Peterson for most of his career, is considered one of the surest picks in his class. Players at his position don’t usually hear their names called early in the process – before Ezekiel Elliott, only two running backs were selected in the top five in the last eight drafts – which should tell you all you need to know about Fournette and his potential after the Jacksonville Jaguars made him the fourth overall pick in Thursday’s first round.
There are big expectations for Fournette. He’s already put pressure on himself to make an impact from day one, saying he wants to take the Jaguars – a team that has won a total of 22 games in the last six seasons – to the Super Bowl as a rookie. But before he has an opportunity to prove himself as the next star in the NFL, he’s going to appreciate the moment of hearing his name called on draft night. Because for Fournette, he knows how different his life would be without football.
“You know, growing up in my environment, I could’ve been a drug dealer, I could’ve been a killer, I could’ve been anything,” Fournette tells Rolling Stone. “I chose the football route and it saved me. When I cross that stage and get that jersey and that hat, it’s going to hit me.”
We spent the day of the NFL Draft with Fournette to document his journey to this point and how he’s finally living out his childhood dream of being drafted by an NFL team. You can find “Leonard Fournette: A Draft Journey” here on Monday, May 1st. For now, here’s a preview of what’s to come.