2021 Raiders Draft Prospect Profile
Name: Kenneth Gainwell
School: University of Memphis
Weight: 191 pounds
When the prospect ventures downfield, he uncorks a variety of moves to extricate him from sticky situations. Granted, his spin move is both quick and brilliantly executed, the cuts make Gainwell a problem. Stopping on a dime, the former Tiger lets the tackler’s aggressiveness work against him. On top of that, as a receiver, Gainwell created separation with his hips and feet in concert.
If Gainwell dreams of playing all three NFL downs, he needs to gain weight. Now, his body will not endure the prolonged beating. While he doesn’t shy from contact, relishing it will quickly com,e back to bite him.
With an easy explosion, Gainwell accelerates through the whole upon opening. Meanwhile, he showcases the burst to run away with a defender once he gets even. The prospect run with timing, knowing where and when to hit the gas.
Watching Gainwell, his knack for using the off-ball, guide hands in close quarters, dictates his path. In open space, he looks beyond the first tackler, checking on how the play unspools.
The former Memphis Tiger excels here. Trusting Gainwell, former coach Mike Norvell would feature him all over the passing game. Accumulating yards in the passing game may not appear uncommon. Yet, you won’t find many backs that split wide in either the slot or the outside. The prospect catches the wheel, dumpoff, flare, go and post from the slot.
Versatility remains a buzzword that finds its way in draft profiles. However, Gainwell exemplifies the term. Utilizing him in a myriad of way, Memphis unleash a slew of headaches. At the next level, that will earn the prospect time. Displaying the ability to help in the passing game, in this league, immediately pays dividends.
During the first two seasons of his career, Josh Jacobs missed five games. In addition, his yards per carry plummeted to 3.9. Behind Jacobs, Devontae Booker and specifically, Jalen Richard, failed to give Jacobs quality rest. Looking specifically at the third-down back, Richard reached his ceiling in this offense. In the open field, he lacks a long burst. Also, his route tree remains rather unimaginative and basic. Richard’s forty-one touches resulted in just one score. Knowing the offense should also require production. Meanwhile, Gainwell slides into the change-of-pace role with aplomb. Enforcing this thought is Gruden’s desire to constantly tinker with the offense. Gainwell gives the Raiders an immediate infusion of backfield talent.