There is a little bit of noise coming out of Baton Rouge this morning regarding Leonard Fournette.
If you haven’t taken notice last year or early this year, Fournette is an absolute man amongst boys playing college football. The guy looks like he could play in the NFL yesterday.
Pro Football Talk suggested in an article that “Fournette definitely should take a year off in 2016″
In the article, PFT sites former NFL scout Gil Brandt who told the New York Times recently that “He’s ready to play”
Herschel Walker also told TMZSports “He’s better than I was.”
Fournette has proven his talent is ready for the NFL, but will not be eligible for the draft until 2017 because a) NFL says so b) NFL wants college football be a free farm system c) NCAA says so d) NFL says so again
Someone eventually will sit out a college season by choice. In basketball you are not eligible to be drafted until you are a year removed from high school. Some players have foregone the college one and done and have taken their talents straight to pro ball over seas.
Football players don’t have that luxury because of the lack of viable options in foreign countries. If a player is already ready for the NFL, why shouldn’t that player take the third year off?
Remember Marcus Lattimore or Todd Gurley? Sure, Gurley was a top 10 pick in the draft last season after tearing his ACL, but he would have gone in the top 5 if he was healthy. Lattimore at the age of 23 is now a coach at South Carolina instead of playing in the NFL. He suffered torn ACL’s in 2012 and 2013 while playing in college. He never recovered enough to live without pain or be productive in the NFL.
The NFL is a business. Teams make business decisions all the time regarding players. The Dallas Cowboys cut a still productive DeMarcus Ware two seasons ago because they didn’t want to pay him as much as he was making. Why should a player not treat it as a business as well?
If Fournette foregoes the 2016 season there are only positives from a financial standpoint. He will have cemented himself as a top 5 pick by the end of this year and he will have a year of wear and tear removed, possibly extending his NFL career.