For Memphis RB Kenneth Gainwell, getting drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the fifth round of this year’s draft does a few things for him. It allows him an opportunity to fulfill his dream of playing football and a chance to play with his cousin, Eagles DT Fletcher Cox.
Like Cox, Gainwell is from Yazoo City, Mississippi. According to Gainwell, the people of Yazoo City are happy to see Gainwell and Cox together in Philly.
The city is very excited about me and Fletcher(Cox),” Gainwell said on Saturday. “Man, they just excited about us. They’re excited that we play ball, and now we are playing with each other on the same team, so they are going to be even more excited.”
Gainwell opted out last season due to COVID concerns. In 2019, he put up monster numbers for Memphis, including running for 1459 yards with 13 touchdowns on the ground, and he caught 51 passes for 610 yards with three receiving touchdowns.
According to Gainwell, he spent a lot of time in the gym during his time away from football.
“I basically just started training,” he said. “So basically, the next week after I opted out, I started training, and I’ve been working out ever since. It’s been basically six months for me working out straight, non-stop. I’ve just been putting in the work, staying down, staying healthy throughout this process.
While Gainwell wanted and some expected him to be picked higher in the draft, he’s happy to be in Philly.
Yeah, I was surprised,” he said about going later in the draft. “But I’m happy now; I’m happy y’all got me. I’m happy I’m with the Eagles. That really don’t matter. It’s time to work. It’s time to put in the work. Getting drafted first, getting drafted at the fifth, it don’t really matter about all that. I am ready to ball for the Eagles.”
Gainwell does not lack for confidence, and when asked who does he compare himself to in the NFL, he had this to say:
“I’m a rare breed,” he said. “I’m a different one.”
Gainwell has a lot of versatility. As the numbers show, he can do things on the ground and in the passing game. With his skill set, he should add depth to the Eagles’ running back room in 2021.