20/20: Benny Snell

Rob Willette

Welcome to the 20/20 series. As part of our continued Dynasty Scouts coverage and in preparation for the NFL Combine, we will be profiling 20 of the top incoming rookies of the class of 2019 by giving you 20 facts you must know.

1.) Player Name – Benny Snell

2.) College – Kentucky Wildcats

3.) Height/Weight – 5’11”, 223

4.) Birthdate – 03/27/1998

5.) Class – Junior

6.) Basic college stats –

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Stats courtesy of sports-reference.com.

7.) NFL Draft round projection – Snell is a highly decorated collegiate runner and looks to be fairly well-respected in the draft community. However, I can’t help but feel his draft slot will prove underwhelming. Backs who fail to offer explosive ability in the passing game are just not highly coveted in today’s game, and Snell does not have the complementary skills to overcome his rather mundane receiving abilities. I’d expect Snell to hear his name called on day three.

8.) Current NFL comparison – This is not so much a stylistic comparison as an impact comparison, but I could see Snell following in the Jordan Howard career arc. Howard is an effective runner, yet his upside is always capped by his limited contributions in the passing game. Howard still has value to the Bears and to fantasy teams, though you’re never exactly enthused about submitting a lineup with his name in it unless the Bears are heavy favorites for the week.

9.) Best possible destination – Assuming the Baltimore Ravens maintain their run-heavy, ball-control approach with Lamar Jackson under center, it looks to be a cozy little landing spot for a runner like Snell. He’s got more juice in his legs than Gus Edwards and is more reliable than Kenneth Dixon. While the scheme would conspire with his limited body of work to suppress his receiving numbers, he could operate as a bellcow who does damage between the tackles. Snell as a Raven just fits their persona, and he could provide the value owners were hoping to see from Alex Collins.

10.) Worst possible destination – While there’s ample reason to be excited about the Tampa Bay offense given their 2017 performance and the arrival of Bruce Arians, it is a poor landing spot for Snell, especially if you still have some level of faith in Ronald Jones. Arians is known for his vertical offense, and his offense operated at its peak when it had an elite receiving back such as David Johnson. Backs with Johnson’s receiving prowess are rare, so you don’t need an all-world stud to make it work, but a throwback runner like Snell meshing with an Arians-scheme just seems to be a longshot.

11.) Best current skill – Every down, Benny Snell competes. He has the ability to wear down a defense over the course of four quarters, possessing an insatiable desire to fight for every yard humanly possible. His compete level will give him a chance to contribute in any given week, even as his other skills materialize.

12.) Skill that needs to be improved – It has been a running theme throughout this entire piece: Snell lacks dynamism as a receiver. He’s perfectly capable of reeling in a short pass and picking up short chunks of yardage; however, he’s yet to show nuanced skills which speak to a back who can impact a game through the air. He is, however, an aggressive and willing pass-blocker. His prowess there will earn him third-down work even without the receiving chops.

13.) Past/current rookie ADP – Fantasy owners are currently fairly bullish on Snell, giving him an overall Rookie ADP of 17, seventh among backs. A mid-second round investment indicates dynasty owners are expecting Snell to contribute to their fantasy teams; it is a healthy selection and he only fell out of round two in one of ten mock draft iterations.

14.) Projected dynasty value – It is doubtful Snell ever becomes a hot commodity at the running back position. He profiles to settle in as a quality if milquetoast asset whose production and value can vacillate from week to week and year to year.

15.) Recruiting Profile – Snell was a composite three-star recruit out of Ohio in the 2016 class. Also a gifted linebacker, there was some thought Snell may end up on the defensive side of the ball, though he settled in at running back and quickly established himself as one of the best players in program history.

16.) Elite Company – Only two players in SEC history have rushed for 1,000 yards and 14 touchdowns in their first three seasons on campus: Snell and Herschel Walker. His production is beyond reproach. This write-up has been fairly bearish on Snell’s fantasy impact, though perhaps I am underrating him; he has simply produced at every turn despite Kentucky’s shortcomings throwing the football.

17.) Bloodlines – Snell’s father – Benjamin Snell – was drafted as a running back by the Baltimore Ravens in 1998. His great uncle – Matt Snell – played running back for the New York Jets.

18.) Snubbed By Buckeyes – An Ohio native, Snell always dreamed of playing for Ohio State. The Buckeyes, however, did not extend an offer. In fact, only one B1G program – Iowa – showed heavy interest in Snell with an offer.

19.) Offense On His Back – Kentucky threw for only 1,978 yards in 2018, while Snell rushed for 1,449. It was no secret how Kentucky planned to move the football, yet they were still effective when putting the football into number 26’s hands.

20.) Snell Yeah – Snell’s slogan is something he takes seriously. So seriously he had it tattooed across his stomach. He wrote about the slogan and expanded on his football career in the Players Tribune.


rob willette