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2019 NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Benny Snell, Kentucky

2019 NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Benny Snell, Kentucky
Davis Mattek March 26, 2019 11:44AM EDT

Benny Snell 2019 NFL Draft Prospect Profile Scouting Report

Much like Trayveon Williams, Benny Snell’s SEC counterpart, Snell started right away as a true freshmen at Kentucky. Snell was a three-star recruit out of high school but did not have a plethora of offers. Snell Jr. outplayed the incumbent Wildcats running back, Boom Williams, and lead Kentucky in carries in 2016. Snell is still ranked amongst the best running backs in the 2019 NFL Draft class but his combine performance has left me with questions about his ability to produce at the next level.

After essentially splitting work with Boom Johnson in 2016, Benny Snell become the Kentucky Wildcats clear lead runner in 2017. He accounted for 67% of the teams rushing yards and TD’s while racking up 262 carries, 1,333  yards and 19 (!!!!) touchdowns. Unfortunately, Snell caught only 10 passes his entire sophomore season. This is a fairly common wart amongst the 2019 NFL running back draft class. Snell, David Montgomery, Devin Singletary and Miles Sanders all did not catch a tremendous amount of passes despite showing some aptitude for doing so. In 2017, Snell tailed only Nick Chubb and Kerryon Johnson (current NFL stud running backs) in rushing yards and had more total yards and touchdowns than Chubb.

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2018 solidified Benny Snell’s resume as a projected workhorse running back for the NFL. He is the only running back in the country to rush for at least 1,000 yards and 13 touchdowns in each of the last three NCAA seasons. In all three seasons at Kentucky, he had more than a 50% share of the teams total rushing work which definitely matters when projecting players to the NFL.

There are no real issues with Snell’s rushing production. He was highly productive at a bad SEC school which is a tough athletic conference to run the ball in. Benny Snell’s combine performance, however, is a problem. His agility score of 11.4 suggests it may be tough for him to evolve as a pass-catcher at the next level (agility score is correlated to passing game production) and his 40 time of 4.66 at 224 pounds is extremely concerning. A close athletic comp for Snell is Corey Clement (hand picking a current NFL player) basically forecasts that Snell’s NFL upside is fairly limited. As Hayden Winks wrote on Rotoworld “(Snell) had three-straight 1,000-yard, 13-touchdown seasons as an 18-, 19-, and 20-year old. Finished inside the top-5 in yards after contact in 2018 but never showed receiving ability and didn’t test well at the Combine, limiting his projected upside.”

I will be honest, Benny Snell Jr. looks like a pretty average runner on his Kentucky tape. Even on his “highlights”, he gets caught from behind a decent amount. He is not an exceedingly elusive running back but is pretty effective in short yardage and between the tackles. Those sorts of runs and Benny Snell-style running backs are going out of fashion for the more versatile and elusive players who can catch passes. Despite being different sizes, I could see Snell having a similar impact in the NFL to someone like Lagarrette Blount. If a team wanted to give him 15-18 touches per game, he showed at Kentucky that he has the strength and ability to hold up through those touches and would likely “get stronger as the game goes on” to quote an old football cliche.

Benny Snell Final Verdict

Snell’s dynasty fantasy football value is going to be variable depending on landing spot. It is unlikely that he goes in the first three rounds of the NFL Draft and is not such an uber talent that I would expect he would be gifted a starting role anywhere immediately. One of the most favorable aspects of his profile from an analytics perspective is that he had a very young breakout age (18) and will be entering the NFL at 21. However, he certainly is not very fast and caught only 29 total passes in three years at Kentucky. Every NFL team carries a player like Snell, it is simply a matter of which team chooses to invest enough stock in him to make him worth of a hold. While he is sort of a consensus top five running back in the class, at this point he is on the outside looking in for me as I tend to value athleticism more than the average NFL Draft analyst.

2019 NFL Draft Prospect Profiles:

Josh Jacobs

Kelvin Harmon

N’Keal Harry

A.J Brown

Noah Fant

Jazz Ferguson

Miles Boykin

Hakeem Butler

Devin Singletary

Parris Campbell

Gardner Minshew

Lil’Jordan Humphrey

Darrell Henderson

JJ Arcega-Whiteside

Andy Isabella

D.K Metcalf

T.J Hockenson

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