NFL Draft

2019 NFL Draft Player Profiles: Kentucky RB Benny Snell Jr.

From now until the 2019 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to showcase as many prospects as possible and examine both their strengths and weaknesses. Most of these profiles will feature individuals that the Pittsburgh Steelers are likely to have an interest in, while a few others will be top-ranked players. If there is a player you would like us to analyze, let us know in the comments below.

#26 Benny Snell Jr. / RB Kentucky – 5’10” 224

The Good

  • Good size and physicality
  • Very good contact balance and ability to run through tackles
  • Good acceleration and squares himself when heading up field
  • Capable of running in Zone or Gap schemes
  • Good hands and ability to adjust to the ball
  • Nose for the end zone
  • Willing blocker in Pass Pro

The Bad

  • Lacks elusiveness to make people miss
  • Doesn’t have the extra gear to outrun defenders
  • May have left some yards out there on gap choice
  • Limited usage in the passing game almost entirely in the short area
  • Not a lot of yards after the catch
  • Very limited special teams usage

Bio

  • Career – 737 carries, 3,873 yards, 5.3 YPC, 48 TD’s, 29 receptions, 216 yards, 7.4 YPR, 8 punt returns for 125 yards, 3 of 7 passing, 59 yards, 1 TD
  • 2018 – 289 carries, 1,449 yards, 5.0 YPC, 16 TD’s, 17 receptions, 105 yards, 6.2 YPR, 1 of 1 passing, 43 yards, 1 TD
  • Started 27 of 39 games including 26 straight
  • Broke or tied 14 school records including career rushing yards (3,873), total TDs (48), rushing TDs (48) and 100-yard games (19)
  • Team captain as a junior
  • Second-Team All-America (Walter Camp Football Foundation, College Football News, USA Today, American Football Coaches Association, Athlon)
  • First-Team All-SEC (AP, Coaches, Athlon, ESPN)
  • Father Benjamin Snell was a running back at Ohio Northern and was signed by the Baltimore Ravens in 1998
  • His great uncle Matt Snell was a RB for the New York Jets, helping the Jets win the 1969 Super Bowl after rushing for 121 on 30 carries
  • Majoring in pre-media arts studies
  • His nickname is “Snell Ya Later”

Tape Breakdown

Benny Snell Jr. (#26) put together and impressive 3 years at Kentucky and decided to enter the 2019 NFL draft. He has the football genes with his father and great uncle both playing professionally. He helped lead Kentucky to their first 10 win season in over 40 years along with Lonnie Johnson, Mike Edwards and likely top 5 pick Josh Allen.

Snell has good size and is a physical runner with solid athletic ability.  He shows good patience and solid vision and is capable of running in Zone or Gap schemes. He’s a one cut, downhill runner who runs with good leverage and leg drive. He has solid acceleration to hit the daylight when he sees it and has very good contact balance able to maximize his yards after contact. He has a knack for finding his way through the pile.  His vision is solid overall; there were instances where I thought he could have made a better choice but for the most part choses correctly. He doesn’t show the elusiveness and lateral agility to make people miss and he lacks the extra gear to run away from potential tacklers.

At Georgia it’s a toss sweep to the right that highlights his contact balance. He’s hit by 3 Bulldogs en route to this 12 yard run.

At Georgia he takes the direct snap and tucks in behind the pulling RG. When he finds his lane he squares his shoulders, gets low and carries defenders for an extra 9 yards.

At Georgia this play is designed to the middle. With that closed off he bounces off of two players at the LOS sweeps left and runs through a tackle.

At Florida there’s penetration in the backfield so he uses a little jump cut to the left and accelerates. At the 30 yard line he gives a slight nod inside to freeze the defenders just a bit to get a lane to the outside.

At Florida although he lacks great speed he has showed the ability to get outside. Balance and play strength shown again running through and tackle and his finishes of the run lowering his shoulder.

Vs Penn State here is a good example of using his vision to make the right choice. With a LB filling the right gap he cuts left to find the daylight to a good gain.

Vs Penn State good acceleration, another broken tackle and he finishes this one off with a hurdle at the end.

In the passing game he wasn’t asked to do much with most of his routes coming in the short area.  He ran screens, swings, flat routes and check downs. This is where the majority of his catches were and they weren’t very productive averaging just 6.5 yards per reception over the last two seasons (27 receptions). He did show good hands and the ability to adjust to the ball. In the games watched he ran one seam route from the backfield and a few wheel routes with 1 target being overthrown. He’s a capable blocker in Pass Pro keeping his head on a swivel, looking for work and willing to step up and take on all comers.

Vs Georgia this is a microcosm of his usage in the passing game.  A check down in the short area showing the ability to adjust to a ball while not getting much after the catch.

Overall, he is tough physical runner with good contact balance able to break tackles and work in Gap or Inside Zone running schemes. He lacks elusiveness to make people miss, doesn’t have an extra gear and probably will struggle to run outside at the next level.  As a receiver, his hands are good and can adjust to the ball well. I’d like to see him given an opportunity to do more there but I wouldn’t expect any huge increase. I think he’ll be a solid pro running back should be able to make any backfield stronger and could be very useful in the 4 minute offense and short yardage situations initially with a chance a being a starter down the road.

Projection: Mid Day 3

Games Watched:  2017 – At Georgia; 2018 – At Florida, At Texas A&M, Vs Georgia, Vs Penn State

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Daylon Mack Jaylon Ferguson Brian Burns Terrill Hanks Deebo Samuel
Nasir Adderley David Long Oshane Ximines Deshaun Davis Cameron Smith
Parris Campbell Emanuel Hall Tony Pollard N’Keal Harry Deandre Baker
Juan Thornhill Foster Moreau Julian Love Drue Tranquill A.J. Brown
Isaiah Buggs L.J. Scott Taylor Rapp Dre’Mont Jones Tre Lamar
Noah Fant Greedy Williams Marquise Brown Gerald Willis III Terry Godwin
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Darnell Savage Jr. Ryan Davis Jordan Brailford Amani Hooker Dalton Risner
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