Kenneth Gainwell Draft Profile
There were always those teams growing up that put their best player at quarterback just to see him ball out. Those kids usually were always bigger, stronger, and faster than everybody and all of the parents wanted to check his birth certificate because of how damn good he was. That kid is Kenneth “Kenny” Gainwell. Kenny Gainwell is the most slept on prospect in the draft and he might be my favorite prospect this year. In 2020, Gainwell opted out of football to prepare for the NFL Draft so some scouts and the public may have forgotten about him, but he is guaranteed to shock some people.
Gainwell is the definition of a dual threat running back. He had over 2,000 scrimmage yards in his only season starting at Memphis. Gainwell is the first player to have over 100 rushing yards and 200 receiving yards in a game since 1997 and these receiving yards aren’t coming off of screens and swings, he is running legit receiver routes. Gainwell is a physical rusher that punishes people in short yardage situations. When watching Gainwell play, sometimes he looks like a create your player in Madden. One second he’s taking snaps as a wildcat quarterback, then running back, then he’s out wide running comebacks. Speaking of madden, he presses the B button like no other— Gainwell has the nicest spin move in this year’s draft. When it comes to blocking, Gainwell does a great job at chipping defensive ends and linebackers. He even put Penn State linebacker, Micah Parsons, on his ass. There aren’t many flaws to Gainwell’s game, he is physical and elusive. The most underrated part of his game has to be his ability to set up his blockers then find the holes in the defense. Overall, Kenny Gainwell will be one of the best rookies in the NFL this year.
There aren’t many holes to his game, the one question I really had was his ball security. However, that is the first skill taught in practice by the running back’s coach. People are concerned that he only played one year in college and he sat out a year. But less tread on the tires should be looked at as a good thing and he has been training for the NFL for over a year now, this will help him in the long run. Gainwell is going to fall under the radar because people haven’t seen him in over a year, but I guarantee he will catch people by surprise. Gainwell is the biggest sleeper in the draft.
It is hard to find a comparison for Gainwell because his skillset is so unique. The Antonio Gibson comparison is pretty lazy because he is a dual threat that played for Memphis, but it’s pretty accurate. Both players could easily play both receiver and running back. Gibson and Gainwell do a great job at keeping their legs moving and running through contact. Both players are downhill runners that play with power. Similar to Gibson, I expect Gainwell to emerge as one of the best playmakers in the NFL in his rookie season. When it comes to fits, Gainwell needs to go to a team that will use him all over the field. I like him in San Francisco or with the Jets, because the Shanahan system calls for lots of short passing letting their players make plays after the catch or in space. Gainwell can be used all over the field and creative offensive coordinators will see that and make him the ultimate offensive threat. Because scouts and general managers haven’t been exposed to Gainwell in some time, there is a chance Gainwell can fall to the third or maybe even fourth round. I have him graded as a first round talent, so he will undoubtedly be one of the biggest steals in the draft this year.
Contact Balance 9/10
Receiving Threat 8/8
Change of Direction 5/5
Pass Protection 5/5
Final Rating: 91
Pro Comparison: Antonio Gibson
Team Fits: 49ers, Falcons, Jets
Draft Ranking: Mid to Late First Round Pick
Draft Projection: Third or Fourth Round Pick