Written By: Ryan Lippert
Benny Snell Jr.: Running Back, Kentucky
Weight (lbs): 223
Career Stats: 39 Games Played (3 seasons)
737 rushes, 3,873 yards, 5.3 YPC, 48 TD, 6 fumbles
29 rec, 216 yards
Strengths: Benny is truly a power back. His combination of explosiveness and toughness are what have helped him become arguably the best running back in school history at Kentucky.
He is a North-South runner who is explosive through the gaps and makes defenders pay on the first contact. Snell runs with a nice, low pad level which he uses to bounce off of tacklers. He is very rarely brought down on the first contact.
Another thing that you will get with Snell is his competitiveness and teamwork. Even when given the majority of the workload on offense, Snell keeps coming with the same high motor every single play. In three seasons of watching him, I can’t recall ever seeing him take a play off. He is also all about his teammates. In an interview that has been done with Snell, he praises his offensive line and says that everything he does is for his teammates and the fans at Kentucky.
Weaknesses: As I have already mentioned, Snell is a North-South runner. With that
being said, he doesn’t have the amount of cutting ability/quickness as other running backs. He shows the ability to make a few moves in open space at times but most of his long runs come off of using his strength to break tackles in the open field. If he can add to his arsenal of moves in the open field, he’s going to be a very dominant back at the next level.
Another thing that Benny will need to improve on at the next level is his ability as a receiver. At Kentucky, he wasn’t asked to be a key factor in the passing game as much as he only had a little over 200 yards receiving and no receiving touchdowns in his college career. If he wants to be a true feature back in the league, he will need to show teams that he has the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. With the way the league has evolved today, that will be crucial to his success.
NFL Team Fits: One team that comes to mind for Snell is the New York Jets. In last
year’s draft, the Jets selected their quarterback of the future in Sam Darnold. They could very well use the 2019 draft to find his future partner in the backfield. As their roster stands now, the Jets have three running backs that contribute in Isaiah Crowell, Bilal Powell, and Elijah McGuire.
Powell is a solid veteran back but doesn’t have many years yet and Crowell is the best back on the Jets roster. McGuire has some potential but I think Snell is a more polished runner. If they were to take Snell, I would put him as the RB2 behind Crowell but I fully believe he could eventually become their starter. Plus, how cool would it be from a marketing standpoint to have “Benny and the Jets”?
Another team I like for Snell is the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts have a few solid young backs on their roster in Marlon Mack, Nyheim Hines, and Jordan Wilkins. Mack is the Colts feature back while Hine is more of a change-of-pace back that is a threat in the passing game. Wilkins has shown signs that he can be good, but again I think Snell would be a better back. If drafted by Indianapolis, Snell and Mack could be a great combination out of the backfield while Hines can be used on special teams and in the passing game.
My last good fit for Snell is the Houston Texans. With Lamar Miller being up and down inconsistency and D’Onta Foreman struggling, the Texans will be looking to add some value to their backfield to take some pressure off the passing game. Miller still has a little value left in him so he will likely be the starter regardless of if they draft someone to start off 2019 season. However, if Snell is drafted by them and given a chance to prove himself, I could easily see him quickly becoming the feature back in Houston.
Regardless of where he ends up, Snell is going to be a very special player at the next level. As far as this draft class goes, he doesn’t get near the attention he deserves. I see Snell following in a middle round and being a huge steal for any team that drafts him.