The 2019 NFL Draft will be a great event for teams to start building for their future. The Game Haus will be doing scouting reports on some of the top prospects in the 2019 NFL Draft. Kentucky running back Benny Snell Jr. helped revitalize the Wildcat program and is now headed for the pros.
Position: Running Back
2018 stats: 289 carries, 1,449 rushing yards, 16 rushing touchdowns, 17 receptions, 105 receiving yards
Size: 5-foot-10, 224 pounds
Snell was the heart and soul of the Kentucky team for the last three seasons and helped them elevate to a better spot than when he walked on campus. In doing so, he showed NFL executives how good of a player he can be if given the opportunity.
Although he wasn’t a starter from day one in his freshman season, Snell quickly earned carries through his tough running style. He split time with Boom Williams, but still managed to rush for 1,091 yards and 13 touchdowns in his first year on campus. As a sophomore, he got the bulk of the carries and finished with 1,333 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns. Snell was a respected running back around the country as a junior and capped off his final season in college with 1,449 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns. Before Snell got to Kentucky, the Wildcats hadn’t made a bowl game in five years. With Snell, Kentucky went three for three on bowl game appearances, most notably winning the Citrus Bowl against Penn State this past season.
Snell has been a workhorse running back for the Wildcats over the last two seasons, which will scare some teams away due to his heavy workload. Even so, Snell is a solid second-day prospect, who some NFL teams will want to draft due to his heart and physical running style.
Snell might be the best power runner in the draft class. He is great in between the tackles and runs hard, looking to punish people for attempting to tackle him. Defenders can’t arm tackle him and if he is fortunate enough to get to the second or third level of the defense, he can sometimes run through their tackles to pick up more yards.
He has the size and the effort to be one of the best pass protectors out of the rookies coming in. Snell demonstrates great recognition of where extra pass rushers are coming from and isn’t afraid to go across the formation to pick them up and protect the quarterback. He has a great size and speed combo, for these purposes, to really make sure the quarterback isn’t touched.
His vision and patience also work to his advantage. He lets his blockers set up and get a push before committing to a hole. This allows him to make the best possible option to pick up yards, even if the play isn’t very effective. These two traits allow him to pick up yards consistently.
He has the power, but Snell is not fast. On runs that he gets to the second and third level, he is often tracked down from behind. His long-speed is an issue, but so is his acceleration. It takes longer for him to get to top speed than other running backs, which is a weakness that could be exploited in the NFL more.
Snell also isn’t the most elusive running back in the draft class. He has a good one-step cut move, but he will not make many defenders miss in the open field. In college, he could break tackles and stiff arm his way to more yards, but if he wasn’t elusive at Kentucky, it could be very hard to pick up yards in the pros.
Teams looking for a running back who can make an impact in the passing game, outside of pass protecting, won’t want to take Snell. He didn’t show the ability to catch the ball and run routes at a high level at Kentucky and there are several other running backs in the draft class who are more well-rounded who teams may select ahead of Snell.
Projected Draft Range: Second round-Fourth round