NAME: Benny Snell
POSITION: Running Back
JERSEY: No. 26
RECRUITMENT RATING: 3-star
WT: 223 lbs
Feet – Short-strider with considerable step frequency as he approaches the hole which allows the second level to get a jump. Does not generate much burst when planting and cutting. Slow acceleration to and through the hole. Not very springy.
Vision – Traditional, one-cut runner that can attack schemed holes. Illustrates some creativity to find space when the play design fails. Is a decisive runner that generally makes good decisions with the ball in his hands. Does well to keep looking for space and not get stuck in the same vicinity.
Pass Protection – Highly effective. Diagnoses where pressure will come from, steps up and absorbs contact. Does well to square up rushers and anchor. Knows when to cut block and make sure rushers hands don’t clog up throwing lanes.
Receiving – Does not offer a skill set that suggests he will be able to separate from linebackers. Hands are adequate but he presents nothing more than a check down option as a a receiver. Value on passing down comes from his ability to win in pass pro.
Balance – Operates from a balanced base and absorbs contact well. Runs behind his pads with good forward lean. Doesn’t make overly dynamic cuts but controls his body well when changing directions.
Elusiveness – Can get some lateral width on jump cuts. Overall lacks wiggle and twitch to make people miss in the open field. Modest stop/start ability but his spatial awareness and power enables him to anticipate pursuit and set up tacklers to win post-contact.
Power – Is a true hammer between the tackles. Lacks of speed through the hole invites contact and he does well to battle through it. Can run through tacklers and has enough leg drive to move piles. Exposes timid tackle attempts and requires an honest effort to go down.
Competitive Toughness – Works hard to maximize his touches and compete for yards after contact. Isn’t a great tackle breaker but he runs with purpose and intent. His frame, leg drive and vision makes him a viable option for short yardage carries.
Versatility – Likely a gap/power runner that is limited to between the tackles carries in the NFL. Has three-down ability because of his effectiveness as a pass blocker. Receiving skill set is vanilla.
BEST TRAIT – Competitive Toughness
WORST TRAIT – Burst
RED FLAGS – None
Snell has been a productive workhorse back for Kentucky over the last three seasons. He has the size and power to operate as a downhill runner in a gap/power scheme in the NFL. While Snell enjoyed terrific production in college, his lack of burst and elusive traits limit his NFL upside. His vision, power and ability to win in pass pro are his keys to success in the NFL. By year three, Snell has the makings of a rotational back that offers value as a battering ram, pass protector and special teams contributor.
Vision –Processes action well at the mesh point and often times brings momentum into the LOS. Almost always seems to find the cut lane outside and carry his runs up the sideline. Has a great feel at the LOS to slide or bounce as needed to pick up yardage.
Feet/Change of Direction –Active feet in both high traffic contact areas and in lateral situations. Can surprise with his lateral displacement, does well to shift and slide to keep momentum while waiting for containment to break. Balanced, but not explosive with his cuts.
Durability –Has been a true feature back during course of career in college, wears you out and gets better later in games…his bowl game in 2018 was no exception. Physical finisher who drops the pads and gets under tacklers to drive the feet and wear you out.
Balance –Love his contact balance. Absorbs blows seamlessly and continues his upfield charge effectively. Capable of contorting his lower half through lateral cuts, hard redirection efforts or by side-stepping a tackler and will be able to collect himself unless wrapped up.
Pass Protection –Pass protection is a huge plus. Sturdy, confident efforts to blow up second level rushers and maintain the pocket. Effort in protection is excellent. Knows when he’s boxed into tight spaces and forced to make a cut block without compromising the remaining protection.
Elusiveness –Will put defenders in a bind, has contact balance, aggression vs. second level defenders, an active free arm and some nifty lateral cuts. Lacking sorely in long speed and will get caught from behind but will make you miss in head up situations with size/mobility combo.
Receiving Ability – Has been available as a swing route and check down target with much greater frequency than his receptions would indicate. Doesn’t have flex upside and will never be much more than a screen and check down option, but he offers strong/soft hands as a receiver.
Short Yardage Skill –Leg drive does stand for some improvement, particularly when he’s contacted in the backfield. Seems to trust his agility a little too much and will try to finesse out of backfield contact. Size, power and flexibility to drop hips/pads low help mask inconsistency in high traffic.
Football Intelligence – Polished rusher who has been tasked with gap/power concepts and inside zone looks alike…thrives best when he’s able to hit the hole as dictated prior to the snap and press up through a gap. Exposure to multiple roles at the position and can be a third down option as well.
Effort – Verbal and emotional team leader in college, possesses a big personality with a great attitude. Love his open field desire to find the boundary and his willingness to punish defenders if he’s backed into a corner.
BEST TRAIT – Balance
WORST TRAIT – Long Speed
BEST FILM – Mississippi State (2018)
WORST FILM – Georgia (2018)
RED FLAGS – None
Benny Snell projects favorably as a lead back in the NFL, specifically for a gap/power heavy rushing offense. Snell showcases a good nose for the boundary and effective toughness between the tackles, often times grinding out tough yardage and slipping through first contact. Snell possesses admirable YAC abilities and will sneak past you despite a lack of true long speed. An effective pass protector, Snell brings every down upside with him in his transition to the NFL.
PROS: Physical runner with the ideal frame for running between the tackles. Can handle a heavy workload and not wear down. Powerful running style typically ends in a gang tackle and moving the pile. Tough man to bring down 1v1. Legs always churning through contact, able to absorb lateral shots and keep moving forward. Ideal runner for short yardage spots due to size, pad level and ability to twist/fall through contact to pick up extra yards.
Good vision as a runner, won’t hesitate to bounce outside to space when nothing is available inside. Won’t be limited by most schemes, as he was successful on power/gap runs as well as inside zone. Used heavily as a pass protector, and with good results. Squares up opponents and won’t hesitate to thump with full-speed, incoming linebackers. Despite pedestrian receiving numbers, was used in the slot and even sent on some wheel routes from the backfield, so he does have experience.
CONS: Athleticism is an understandable concern. Lacks the burst and acceleration to exploit small creases up front, allowing multiple defenders to slow him up through the hole. Non-factor in space as a receiver or runner. Won’t make defenders miss, elusiveness is a clear area of weakness. Doesn’t really have the burst to capture the edge against more athletic defenses.
Can be a bit slow to hit the hole, could stand to be more decisive as a runner (although his offensive line didn’t really define gaps for him either). Very minimal impact as a receiver (12 catches) during his time at Kentucky, and doesn’t have the traits to project to a much better one in the NFL.
Though his calling card is physical running, I would not describe him as a violent runner. Calling him a great tackle-breaker is probably a stretch. His style is more battle-through-bodies-for-a-few-more-yards than break-a-tackle-or-two-and-make-a-splash-play. If that makes any sense.