Rookie Rundown: RB Benny Snell Jr., Kentucky

Rookie Rundown: RB Benny Snell Jr., Kentucky

NFL Draft

Rookie Rundown: RB Benny Snell Jr., Kentucky

By

(Reinhold Matay, USA TODAY Sports)

University of Kentucky touchdown machine Benny Snell Jr. enters the NFL draft as a junior after an immensely productive collegiate career that included 35 scores in just two years as a full-time running back.

Height: 5-foot-10
Weight: 224 pounds
40 time: 4.66 seconds

Snell looks much bigger running the rock than he measures, in part due to an erect style. He has NFL bloodlines and was an Ohio prep star through his father and great-uncle. Snell won 2016 Freshman All-American and All-Freshman SEC honors, going on to earn All-SEC second-team recognition in 2017 and first-team placement in his junior year. Snell is the all-time rushing leader at Kentucky.

RB Benny Snell Jr., Kentucky — stats (2016-18)

Year
Att
Yards
Avg.
TD
Long
Rec
Yards
Avg.
TD
Long
2016
186
1,091
5.9
13
48
2
39
19.5
0
28
2017
262
1,333
5.1
19
71
10
72
7.2
0
22
2018
289
1,449
5.0
16
52
17
105
6.2
0
28

Consistently productive, Snell made the most out of his opportunities and was remarkably consistent in his three years. He displayed an obvious nose for paydirt, scoring 48 times in three seasons. Snell won’t be mistaken for Usain Bolt, yet he manages to create yardage in respectable chunks and grind on defenses as games wear along.

Pros

  • Displays tremendous patience and ability to see developing plays
  • Doesn’t easily go down with arm tackles or without an earnest effort by defenders
  • Effective moves in short-area confinement to evade would-be tacklers — can spin and jump-cut adequately
  • Runs with quality pad lean and leg drive
  • Has upside to develop into a serviceable receiver, albeit with a limited route tree
  • Mostly efficient and tends to get the most out of every play’s opportunities

Cons

  • Runs extremely upright for his height
  • Takes way too much contact for longevity’s liking — copious awkward-angled hits on film. Has a hearty dosage of touches in the last two years
  • Extremely productive year over year, and displayed consistency in the red zone
  • Lacks breakaway ability
  • Burst is just average and struggles to accelerate after coming to a stop in traffic
  • Limited skills and experience as a receiver
  • Questionable ability in pass protection

Fantasy football outlook

Snell’s speed issues and mostly one-dimensional skill set profiles him closer to a Day 3 pick than a third-rounder. Given the nature of the NFL’s widespread two-back systems, a pounder has a role, although it will cost him draft slots.

Due to this situation, his 2019 fantasy stock is solely dependent on his landing spot. Snell simply isn’t dynamic enough to force his way into a full-time gig for a team to capture star status as a rookie. He could emerge in the right situation as an inconsistent RB2 in standard-scoring formats, and Snell’s upside is limited in the long-form view.

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