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Kenneth Gainwell NFL Draft 2021: Scouting Report for Philadelphia Eagles RB

BR NFL Scouting DepartmentContributor IMay 1, 2021

Memphis running back Kenneth Gainwell (19) pushes off South Florida defensive back Nick Roberts (2) during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

HEIGHT: 5'8⅜"

WEIGHT: 201

     

POSITIVES

— Versatile RB with a thick lower build.

— Plays with a low center of gravity and very good balance on his cuts and through contact.

— Not a bruiser but does not shy from contact.

— Good feet. Able to stop and start quickly when making cuts and maintain his balance.

— Shows consistent vision and always plays under control. Doesn't run into the back of his blockers and will naturally let run concepts develop in front of him.

— Fluid in the pass game when running routes. Understands spacing and timing and is a natural pass-catcher. Able to split out and run a legit WR route tree.

— Shows willingness to block in both the run and pass game.

— Opting out of 2020 season will limit mileage.

     

NEGATIVES

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— Below-average overall size. Will end up turning his shoulders when facing a tackler head-on, which isn't ideal when asked to run between the tackles.

— Just OK long speed.

— Loves to utilize a spin move that could leave him prone to turnovers in the NFL.

— Asked to protect but will need improvement on refining details. Seems to be blocking at random, which could just be the scheme he was in.

    

2019 STATISTICS

14 G, 231 carries, 1,459 yards, 6.3 avg., 13 TD, 51 rec., 610 yards, 3 TD

     

NOTES

— Opted out of 2020 season.

— 2019 freshman All-American

— 2019 AAC Rookie of the Year

    

OVERALL

Gainwell is a versatile running back who provides three-down ability from the backfield or lined up outside. He shows good vision, patience and balance that would be best utilized in a spread or one-back scheme in which he can get his touches out of the shotgun and on more outside-hitting run schemes.

Gainwell has a solid lower-body build but lacks the overwhelming size needed to withstand a large number of touches in the NFL and would be best paired with another running back who can handle more of the carries between the tackles.

His ability to line up on the outside and run a legit route tree, as well as his willingness to be physical (he was asked to lead block out of split-back sets), speaks to his overall skill set. Gainwell would be best as a contributor for a creative offense that can utilize him in different ways.

     

GRADE: 7.4/10 (Fourth Round)

OVERALL RANK: 112/300

POSITION RANK: RB5

PRO COMPARISON: Devin Singletary

     

Written by B/R NFL Scout Nate Tice

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