An AFC personnel executive told NFL Media's Albert Breer that LSU running back Leonard Fournette is looking awfully Gurley-like. As a true sophomore, Fournette can't enter the NFL draft until 2017 as a junior, or 2018 as a senior. But with an NCAA-high 1,352 yards, and a Heisman Trophy within his grasp, Fournette is already galvanizing his reputation as a pro prospect.
"He'll be the first running back taken in the draft, put it that way. He's extremely talented, and very similar (to Gurley) in that he can beat you in a lot of different ways," the executive told Breer. "He can do everything, just like Todd. ... Better person than he is a player, just like Todd."
That's high praise given what Gurley has accomplished in the NFL in just a few games.
The Rams' risk in spending the No. 10 overall pick on a player recovering from a torn ACL, and at a low-value position, has already begun to pay off handsomely. Gurley is the first NFL rookie to rush for 125-plus yards in four consecutive games, and NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks recently called him the best player on the Rams roster.
Fournette, meanwhile, is the best running back in the college game less than two seasons into his LSU career. "It's an easy report. We don't spend much time on those guys. The film is self-explanatory," an area scout told Breer.
The Cleveland Browns, Arizona Cardinals, New Orleans Saints and Baltimore Ravens are expected to send scouts to watch Fournette and other top prospects Saturday against Alabama for Fournette's biggest test of the season: an Tide defense with NFL stock throughout its front seven. It was a test Gurley passed, in a losing effort, with 122 yards and two touchdowns against a similarly tough Crimson Tide defense in the 2012 SEC Championship Game.