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Memphis News & Weather | Memphis, TN | WATN - localmemphis.com

Eagles select Memphis RB Kenneth Gainwell in 5th round of NFL Draft

Gainwell becomes fifth active Tigers running back in the NFL

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis: The home of blues, barbeque and (running) backs.

Kenneth Gainwell was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the fifth round (150th overall) of the 2021 NFL Draft on Saturday. 

The 5-foot-8 sophomore becomes the latest Tigers running back to reach the NFL, joining Darrell Henderson, Tony Pollard, Antonio Gibson, and Patrick Taylor Jr.

Gainwell, who opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19, led all FBS freshmen in 2019 with 2,069 all-purpose yards — 1,459 rushing and 610 receiving. He was the only FBS player that season to rush for more than 1,000 yards and have more than 500 receiving yards.

Most mock drafts had Gainwell projected to go off the board in the third of fourth round, well ahead of his fifth round selection.

"Y'all slept on him too long," Gibson tweeted, in an apparent reference to Gainwell sliding to the fifth round. "He about to go stupid now."

Gainwell’s selection marks the eighth-straight season that the Tigers have had a player drafted, and three consecutive drafts with a running back selected.