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A recent mock draft has Raiders grabbing Leonard Fournette at 24. Wishful thinking?

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With the 2017 NFL Draft just two weeks away, mock draft season is in full swing—as are wild imaginations.

The Ringers’ latest mock has snubbed popular opinion and projected the draft’s consensus top RB Leonard Fournette falling to the Raiders at 24th overall. This is a player that Sporting News called, “the best college RB since Adrian Peterson,” over Ezekiel Elliot and Todd Gurley, who were both top-10 picks. This projection will likely have Raiders’ fans drooling over the possibility of Fournette—who perfectly fits the mould of power-runner the Raiders need—lining up behind Derek Carr.

Too bad it will never happen.

CBS’ Jason La Canfora reported yesterday that it’s possible Fournette could be in play for the Cleveland Browns’ first overall pick. That isn’t likely either, but the former Tiger going to the Jacksonville Jaguars at fourth, or the Carolina Panthers at eighth certainly is.

The New Orleans native put up an absurd 40 rushing touchdowns during his three years in Death Valley, never averaging less than 5.5 yards per carry in a season. He put up 3,830 yards on the ground over that time, averaging 1,277 yards per season. That kind of consistency in the SEC should leave NFL scout’s with little doubt that he can be a dominant runner at the next level.

At the NFL combine, Fournette was measured at 6-1, and weighed 240-lbs, but ran a 4.51 40, a remarkable feat considering his size. Even more so when you consider that his (much smaller) primary competition in Dalvin Cook and Christian McCaffrey ran comparable times.

This isn’t the first mock draft that has the Raiders landing a running back, as we can see from the Silver and Black’s mock draft database. But it’s definitely the first mock I’ve seen that has the Raiders landing Fournette.

The database shows that Cook and McCaffrey have been mocked to the Raiders, which seems at least somewhat plausible. The Ringers’ mock has Dalvin Cook as the first running back off the board to the Denver Broncos at 20th overall. However, it is highly improbable that Cook is selected before Fournette on April 27.

Cook has been arrested multiple times and has substantial injury history, which should ensure that Fournette—who most regard as the better prospect anyways—is the first running back taken.

I have a lot of respect for Danny Kelly’s writing, and The Ringer churns out a lot of really excellent content, but in this case, projecting Fournette to the Raiders feels like being splashy just for the sake of being splashy.