Philadelphia, PA - Kenneth Gainwell is a relatively new player for the Philadelphia Eagles. The running back was picked in the 2021 drafts, at 150th place. Running backs aren’t often picked first or even in the first round, but that season almost every team was hunting for a new player to fill that position. So, Gainwell coming in 150th, already tells us that he wasn’t the best running back in the pack. However, just because his start was slow doesn’t mean his game has been. It’s been 2 years since the drafts, so let's see how he has been doing. Has Gainwell changed the NFL odds?
The First Two Seasons
Two seasons aren’t enough to show a real progression or regression, however, it’s a good start. So far, Gainwell has regressed in every category.
In 2021, Gainwell played in 16 games, attempted 68 rushes, and created 291 yards and 5 touchdowns. In 2022, Gainwell played in 17 games, attempted 53 rushes, and created 240 yards and just 4 touchdowns. Although his drive and determination are slipping, we can say that Gainwell’s rush-to-yard average has improved from 4.3 to 4.5 for a current year average of 4.4. He has fumbled the ball less, too. In 2021, Gainswell created 1 fumble, while in 2022 he created none. A hollow improvement.
Gainwell’s receiving stats are even worse. In 2021 he had 33 receptions, created 253 yards, and one 1 touchdown. In 2022, he had 23 receptions, 169 yards, and no touchdowns. Remember Gainwell played in more games this season by one, so the figures should be similar or greater. The only thing Gainwell proved was his long receptions, growing from 19 to 20. Again, a hollow improvement.
In 2022, Gainwell didn’t participate in any punts or kickoffs, so there is nothing for us to compare. In 2021, Gainwell attempted 8 kickoffs and created 137 yards from them.
Gainwell’s overall scoring is another disappointment. In 2021, the running back completed 5 rushing touchdowns and 1 receiving touchdown for a total of 38 points. In 2022, Gainwell completed 4 rushing touchdowns for a total of 24 points. As a rookie, Gainwell achieved moderate success. In this second year, he created some career highs in special games, but overall his achievements are minimal.
We have spoken very negatively about Gainwell so far, but remember that two seasons aren’t enough to show a real impact on a team or player. Gainwell has many strengths, most of which relate to reading the field, keeping calm, and performing elegant footwork.
Gainwell doesn’t make irrational decisions. When everyone is bearing down on him, this running back can hold his own, wait for an appropriate pass and keep the game going. Even when the other team steals the ball, Gainwell doesn’t let frustration take over. Instead, he focuses on the next plan.
Gainwell can easily change direction no matter how fast he is going or how tight the change is. He can act suddenly, and because his stride is wide, the change often comes with a burst of energy. To help with this tactic, Gainwell keeps his feet close to the ground to stay balanced. With each turn he makes, the movement is seamless. This means he doesn’t waste energy or speed through his quick turns.
Can Read The Field
Gainwell has a firm grasp of how the field is moving. He can see a blocker and read how they are preparing to move. He can also keep an eye on the defensive team, ensuring he doesn’t run into a trap. Mixed with his sense of calm and quick movements, Gainwell can easily get out of tough situations.
For such an impressive player, you would expect Gainwell to continue improving. However, no one is perfect.
Easily Wiped Out
Although Gainwell is quick and nimble, he isn’t strong. As an interior runner, he is easily pushed to the ground and has become the magnet for heavy contact in the game. This may be why his stats have reduced. Opponents know of this weakness, and if Gainwell has the ball, a simple knock can get it back into the enemy's hands.
Although Gainwell can run fast, he doesn’t change his speed depending on the circumstances. This means his opponents can estimate his pace with easy accuracy. To make things worse, Gainwell cannot run for a long time. If a fast defensive player is on his tail, Gainwell has to change direction and pass to keep the ball with the Eagles. Otherwise, the defensive player could run past him for an easy tackle, or simply keep pace until Gainwell runs out of speed.
Kenneth Gainwell is an average running back who would be a great and affordable option in any Fantasy NFL picks. If Gainwell is up against slow-footed players, he can duck and weave past the crowd to achieve his touchdowns or safe passes. However, if the players are fast or strong Gainwell might be in trouble. The running back is soon starting his 3rd season. This season will tell us if his rookie year was a fluke or if his second year was an outlier.
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