2021 NFL Draft: Kenny Gainwell the next great RB prospect?

Kenny Gainwell is an exciting 2021 NFL Draft prospect who has massive upside at the next level.

Memphis running back Kenny Gainwell could be the next great player at the running back position and could end up going extremely high in the 2021 NFL Draft. Gainwell will only be a redshirt sophomore during the 2020 season but do not be surprised if he enters the NFL early.

Running back value has taken a hit in recent years as teams are commonly looking to fill the position with multiple lower-cost players. On top of that, NFL running backs do not have great longevity and teams are not going to spend a premium on the position when the long-term gain is minimal.

That being said, special players at the position still hold plenty of value. Based on his impressive 2019 season, Gainwell could be the next big thing at the running back position and do not be surprised if he ends up going extremely high in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Gainwell played in 14 games at Memphis last season, piling up 1,459 yards and 13 touchdowns on 231 carries. Gainwell also brought in 51 receptions for 610 yards and three touchdowns as a receiver. He clearly has big-time ability as both a runner and receiver and should fit the modern NFL extremely well.

Gainwell was a jack-of-all-trades for Memphis in 2019, lining up for the Tigers all over the field. He is listed as a running back, but Gainwell also took plenty of snaps at receiver and proved to be a playmaker no matter where he lined up.

An extremely quick and elusive player in the open field, Gainwell has a knack for making defenders miss in space. He is also an explosive runner who hits the hole hard and is a legitimate threat to take the ball to the house from anywhere on the field.

While his speed and explosiveness consistently stand out when Gainwell is one the field, he also still has a bit of power in his game. Gainwell is a tough and aggressive runner who does a nice job of keeping a low center of gravity and always seems to finish forward. His combination of speed, elusiveness and toughness makes Gainwell an extremely difficult player to bring down in any situation.

More opportunity for Gainwell in 2020

As impressive as Gainwell was in 2019, he should get even more of an opportunity to prove himself at Memphis in 2020. With Antonio Gibson and Patrick Taylor Jr. moving on to the NFL, Memphis will likely lean on Gainwell in a big way this coming season. He likely see even more carries and targets this season and has talent to quickly become one of the most productive offensive players in all of college football.

When we add in Gainwell’s impressive overall skill-set as a receiver to his tremendous playmaking ability with the ball in his hands, it is easy to see how he could become a dynamic player at the next level.

Next: 2021 NFL mock draft

He should have a massive 2020 season and if Gainwell decides to enter the 2021 NFL Draft, there is no ceiling on his draft stock. Despite NFL teams not valuing the running back position highly, Gainwell is a special talent who fits the modern NFL perfectly. Do not be surprised if he ends up being an extremely early selection.

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