The Passing Game

Snell wasn’t used a huge amount in the passing game at Kentucky, partly because they ran the ball a lot, but even given that this wasn’t a major part of his game, this probably isn’t going to be a strength of his game going forward. He was used as a blocker of sorts on occasion, but this was largely off play-action, even out of the shotgun. There were a few plays where he showed a somewhat troubling lack of awareness:


But more often that not, he simply wasn’t asked to do more than chip on a linebacker or defensive lineman and so any team that wants pass protection to be a major part of how they use him will need to be prepared to spend a not-insignificant amount of time working on his blocking.

As a receiver, he at least showed the ability to catch the ball with consistency:


He even flashes some ability to separate at the head of routes underneath:


For Snell, it is clear that the running game is going to be where he makes his money, but he can’t afford to be an absolute liability in the passing game. As things stand, he can offer some value as a receiver, but will need to show that he can develop in either this regard or as a blocker in order for teams not to blitz whenever he is on the field without the risk of being burnt.

Snell is unlikely to ever be an elite running back, it’s probably unlikely that he ever develops into a high level starter, but for a team like the Panthers who could do with a rotational inside power runner, he unquestionably has value. Given that he isn’t expected to be drafted until some way into the final day of the draft or even as a priority free agent, this is somebody to keep an eye on for the Panthers if they don’t add a running back on the second day.

Grade: Mid Third Round

Best-Case NFL Comparison: Alfred Morris

Vincent Richardson on Twitter
Vincent Richardson
Analyst at Riot Report
Astrochemist, bartender and jazz drummer; I also watch a lot of football. Areas of interest include play design, player evaluation and data-driven analytics. Twitter: @vrichardson444