By: Tanner Elliott
Kenneth Gainwell has some of the best vision in college football; his ability to find and attack a hole is almost unmatchable. Once he finds a hole, he uses a burst of speed to hit it quickly. Gainwell also displays the ability to break tackles by any means; at times he runs over defenders, other times he jukes them out. He also attacks defenders instead of overthinking a run, which almost always results in getting a few more yards. Throughout his career, Gainwell also played a number of snaps at receiver, both at slot and on the outside.
The biggest flaw in Gainwell’s game is his pass blocking. On film it shows; Gainwell just throws a shoulder at the defender to try and slow them down instead of blocking. This can be very worrisome, as this will not work in the NFL. He is also not the fastest player. This is not as worrisome, as Gainwell has quickness but there are times when he gets hawked. Probably one of his less-worrying flaws is route running; as stated above, he lines up at receiver a fair amount. His route running may be good enough to get past average NFL linebackers, but if he goes up against some slot or even outside corners, he could have a problem.
During his time at Memphis, Gainwell was used the same way the Saints use Alvin Kamara. Gainwell was seen lining up in the slot, out on the hashes, and even used as a wildcat quarterback. Due to this, Gainwell can be a matchup nightmare. He has the ability to line up and make plays from anywhere on the field, like Kamara. Both players rely less on their speed and more on their vision and quickness to make plays happen.
Gainwell has been one of the main players involved in the Memphis offense since his arrival, and was used all over the field. He has the potential to be a matchup nightmare in the NFL if he lands with a team that knows how to utilize him. Gainwell should expect expected to hear his name called during day two of the draft; his ceiling should be early second round and he shouldn’t fall out of the third round. He should be an exceptional NFL player and could be a contributor day one.