Prospect evaluation of Memphis RB Kenneth Gainwell for the 2021 NFL Draft, which includes his strengths, weaknesses, and projection.

Name: Kenneth Gainwell
Position: RB
College: Memphis
Height: 5’11”
Weight: 191 lbs

= Key Terms =

Grading Scale: Poor, Marginal, Adequate, Solid, Good, Great, Elite

Role: Developmental Player, Backup, Complementary Player, Starter, Franchise Player

= Strengths =

Good vision on outside run designs; patient and lets blocks develop before cutting upfield.

Good footwork and use of shuffle steps when running inside to maintain downhill momentum.

Creative; Great widescreen vision in open field and will cut back against the grain.

Great quickness, agility, and elusiveness; runs with a low center of gravity.

Very active feet; good in tight spaces; makes incredibly sharp cuts outside of frame with a wide base.

Dangerous spin move to elude and take advantage of over-pursuing defenders.

Good explosiveness; once he finds a lane he gets into the 2nd and 3rd levels quickly.

Solid speed; has an extra gear to extend long runs & pull away from defenders if he has the angle.

Solid contact balance; can absorb & shake free when leverage is low enough and momentum is right.

Great receiver; true hybrid RB/WR; lined up in numerous alignments (slow, out wide).

Great route runner; knows how to set up defenders with pacing, footwork, and quickness.

Ran numerous types of routes including intermediate & deep; can even track the deep ball well.

Flashes ability to pluck ball away from body; will make tough catches through contact.

Willing pass blocker; asked to chip and release a lot in Memphis.

Solid ball security; holds ball high and tight to chest, isn’t careless with it; 3 fumbles in 292 touches.

= Weaknesses =

Shows some discipline running between tackles but still needs development; ran mostly outside.

Needs to learn to take what’s given to him when running inside; can’t always create.

Not as explosive or fast as you’d wish; needs to improve on vertical burst at the NFL level.

Gets brought down by low contact.

Adequate power as a runner.

Will get overpowered in pass protection due to lack of power and strength.

= Other =

Athletic Build. 2019 AAC leader in yards from scrimmage, 4th in the nation. 2019 All-AAC First Team.

Memphis running back Kenneth Gainwell entering NFL draft - Memphis Local, Sports, Business & Food News | Daily Memphian

= Projection (Role & Fit) =

Kenneth Gainwell projects as a Great complementary player in a RB tandem with upside of being a Good starting/lead RB. He is a hybrid RB/WR that can be used in multiple ways as a dynamic weapon, serving as the 1B to a volume runner who is 1A. He can run both zone and gap schemes but is best with designs that get him to the outside/perimeter. He also has extensive experience running the wildcat. He is tremendously elusive. He runs with a low center of gravity that helps him make sharp cuts on a dime and wiggle through indirect arm contact. He’d be best utilized in an offensive system that doesn’t let the title of his position restrain him. Gainwell does have a relatively light frame, so he’ll have to show he can add more muscle to it without sacrificing any movement skills. There are also questions about his relative burst and speed for a player of his size and playing style. Overall, Gainwell is a dynamic offensive weapon whose versatility will help him maintain a significant role for any offense and a long career at the pro level.