The NFL Draft is just one day away as the top prospects are gearing up for their lives to change in the blink of an eye. One of the top players in this year’s class is Leonard Fournette, arguably the best running back available.
After a stellar career at LSU, Fournette is preparing to be the first back off the board Thursday night, potentially going in the top 10. A physical freak, the LSU product looks to take a similar path to that of Ezekiel Elliott: a dynamic rookie running back capable of winning the rushing title.
FOX Sports spoke with Fournette ahead of the big night and got his thoughts on everything from his first purchase in the NFL to the process leading up to draft night.
Derick E. HingleDerick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
FOX SPORTS: Why do you think you’re the best running back in the draft? What sets you apart?
FOURNETTE: I think I can do it all – run, block, catch, protect. Also, I think I’m a game-changer. I think I can take pressure off the quarterback. I can give guys an opportunity to get the ball and make plays on offense, and I’ll make everyone around me better.
FOX SPORTS: Is there a team you hope picks you on Thursday night?
FOURNETTE: It doesn’t matter. whatever team I go to, I’m going to be excited to play for those guys and I’ll be willing to do anything to help the team I go to. I’ll make whatever sacrifice I need to, really.
FOX SPORTS: Is there a team that’s shown the most interest in you?
FOURNETTE: No, not that I know of.
FOX SPORTS: You lost 12 pounds between the Combine and your pro day. What's your ideal playing weight, and did you get some negative feedback from teams after the Combine that convinced you to go down?
FOURNETTE: Not at all. I just wanted to show everybody that I could lose some weight and show every team in the draft that I was in shape and that I could lose weight. I would say my ideal playing weight in the NFL is 220 to 230.
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FOX SPORTS: Hindsight is 20-20, but did you ever consider sitting out last season to avoid injuries? And would you have looking back on it now?
FOURNETTE: No, I never thought about sitting out last season. It never crossed my mind. It never hit me at all. Everyone was saying I should sit out and focus on the NFL, but I didn’t listen to them. I have no regrets at all.
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FOX SPORTS: Do you think Ezekiel Elliott’s success last season has increased the value of running backs in the draft?
FOURNETTE: I think him and Todd Gurley did a great job of being examples for why teams should draft backs high in the first round so we can be a workhorse. Or so they can get the best production out of the offense that they want.
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FOX SPORTS: What will be your first purchase in the NFL?
FOURNETTE: I’m going to buy some things for my kids, some clothes. I’m going to buy some clothes for the winter, for the summer and spring – whatever keeps me being me.
FOX SPORTS: What do you say to those doubting your passion for football?
FOURNETTE: Everyone has their own opinion. I know what I’m capable of doing. I know if [I wasn’t passionate about football] I wouldn’t have played this year. I wouldn’t have played hurt, I would’ve sat out the majority of the season, but I didn’t. So they shouldn’t question anything about my passion for football at all.
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FOX SPORTS: What’s been the biggest surprise of the entire draft process?
FOURNETTE: I would say the traveling part, going coast to coast visiting and seeing all these teams. I didn’t know all of this took place prior to the NFL Draft.
FOX SPORTS: How would you say football has helped you on and off the field as a person?
FOURNETTE: It helped me a lot. It helped me discipline-wise as a kid needing that structure to get an understanding of a lot of things.
FOX SPORTS: What made you want to attend the NFL Draft?
FOURNETTE: It was a good opportunity – a once-in-a-lifetime chance – to go to the NFL Draft. So I just wanted to experience it with my family.
FOX SPORTS: Is there a running back you idolized growing up? or someone you think you’re most similar to in the NFL?
FOURNETTE: No sir. Other people compare me to other running backs, but I don’t think I’m similar to anyone else.
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FOX SPORTS: How has Met-RX helped you throughout the pre-draft process?
FOURNETTE: During my preparation for the draft, I took my pre- and post-workout instead of big meals. Only thing I really had was the BIG 100 protein bar during my workouts. I didn’t really eat any big meals, so they know what it is to fill you up and help you perform at the highest level. That’s one of the best partnerships I’ve done so far.