Our NFL rookie profile series continues with this analysis of 2019 NFL Draft Prospect Benny Snell, RB Kentucky. We will continue to provide you with these in-depth rookie profiles and a ton of other fantasy football rookie analysis right up through the NFL Draft. Stay tuned, and stay ahead of your league!
The 2019 running back class has left quite a few questions among the dynasty community. There are plenty of prospects who could make a splash in the NFL, but few are considered to be in locked in for production. One of these uncertain players was the gem of Kentucky football: Benny Snell.
Now is the time for owners to do their research and find out which of these running backs will succeed at the NFL level and thus contribute to a fantasy football roster.
Let’s take a closer look at Snell.
Stats from sports-reference.com.
The biggest takeaway here is consistency. Each year Snell was at Kentucky, he accrued at least 1,000 yards rushing, making him the first player in school history to do so. All these yards also led him to breaking the record for most yards by any Kentucky player.
Importantly, he also started every game in college and increased his number of carries each year. Despite playing straight away as a freshman, he has always managed to be productive and bring some electricity to the Wildcat team. During his most productive season (2018), Snell received 289 carries in 13 games, meaning 22.2 carries a game. Volume seems to be an important aspect of his game.
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His tape is impressive. Snell runs like an “old school” running back and you can clearly see he was a crown jewel and workhorse runner for a school that typically doesn’t produce that type of back. He welcomes contact when facing an opponent and uses short strides to find gaps. He uses his vision and small stutter steps to be patient and find holes to run through. He also uses blockers well and rides on the tailcoats of teammates to take advantage of optimal open gaps for him.
Snell’s athletic ability is an issue. He is slow to gaps made by the offensive line and has trouble shaking off tackles he runs into. Although he uses the stutter step, he is often not as explosive as others doing the same move nor explosive enough to beat defensive players off the edge. He is not used much in the passing game and is more of a check down option for most quarterbacks. Moving to the NFL, he fits the typical ‘power back’ role.
Vision, intelligence, and patience are his strong suits. Mix these in with the ton of carries he received and he looks like a solid option. However, his inability to keep up with other defensive athletes should be a concern for NFL teams and dynasty owners alike.
Considering he is more of a power back, the 16 reps on the bench press were concerning. Additionally, he seemed to struggle on the 40-yard dash, 20-yard shuttle, and vertical jump. The 40 time has dynasty owners most worried. Doing some more research on DynastyProcess.com (below), we can see there are a limited amount of halfbacks who have run a 4.66 on in the 40-yard dash and made much of a splash in the NFL.
All these measurables seem to point to the same concerns we have seen on tape.
Table from DynastyProcess.com.
There were some positive aspects of Snell’s combine performance, but they don’t seem to outweigh the concerns. Therefore, he is dropping in value.
Currently, Snell is dropping in most dynasty startups and rookie drafts. According to March ADP, he is the 26th player and the tenth running back taken in rookie drafts, right behind a player who destroyed the combine, Justice Hill. Note that he does typically go before Elijah Holyfield, who also had his struggles in the combine. In overall dynasty ADP, Snell can be found at the 56th running back off the board.
Benny Snell has been talked about a great deal in a negative light. However, in this draft class, I believe a few backs are bound to have fantasy production. Yes, he lacks some athleticism, but his football insight and intelligence is something that cannot be overlooked. I could see him being a key cog in goal-line work.
I think the biggest factor in Snell’s future will be the landing spot and his ability to continue to grow in power and size. If he goes to a team that lacks a goal-line, between-the-tackles runner, we could see some fantasy impact from him very soon. Snell is a very interesting prospect and will be available for low draft capital.
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