Unpacking Future Packers: No. 51, Georgia RB Kenny McIntosh
The Unpacking Future Packers Countdown is a countdown of 100 prospects that could be selected by the Green Bay Packers in the 2023 NFL draft.
The Georgia Bulldogs have a rich history of producing NFL running backs. Garrison Hearst, Terrell Davis, Herschel Walker, Knowshon Moreno, and Rodney Hampton are a few that come to mind from years ago. Most recently the Bulldogs have produced Nick Chubb, Todd Gurley, Sony Michel, D’Andre Swift, James Cook, and Sony Michel.
The next running back that will hear his name called during the NFL Draft is Kenny McIntosh. The Georgia running back checks in at No. 51 in the Unpacking Future Packers countdown.
After waiting his turn to be the lead dog in Athens, McIntosh rushed for 829 yards and 10 touchdowns this past season. The Georgia running back also recorded 43 receptions for 504 yards and two touchdowns.
“McIntosh is probably the best receiving running back we have seen come through Georgia,” Graham Coffey, the Co-founder of DawgsCentral.com said. “I pigeonholed him as more of a finesse, scat back for a lot of his career. Something changed in November of 2021 and he started becoming a guy who would move piles and pick up third and shorts running into stacked boxes against unblocked defenders. His pass protection abilities might be the best in this draft class as well. Couple that with the fact he has the speed to break long touchdown runs and I think he is a guy who will have a very productive NFL career if properly utilized.”
McIntosh has natural hands and catches the ball away from his frame. He was targeted 90 times during his four years at Georgia and never dropped a single pass. He runs routes like a wide receiver. In pass protection, he steps in the hole to meet linebackers and defensive backs in the hole. This past season, McIntosh logged 50 snaps where he was lined up in the slot or out wide.
“If McIntosh wasn’t a very, very good and physical runner he could have made a fine career for himself as an SEC slot receiver,” Coffey said. “His body changed over the last four years and he bulked up to handle running between the tackles in the leagues, but the reality is that the guy runs routes more like a receiver than a running back. Georgia used McIntosh as a wide receiver a lot throughout his career. He was the bonafide RB1 in 2022 so he saw a higher percentage of his routes come out of the backfield, but he still took 7.4% of his receiving snaps lined up on the boundary and 11.2 percent out of the slot. In 2021 when Georgia had James Cook and Zamir White as their main running back duo we still saw McIntosh on the field a lot as a receiver. Almost 30 percent of the routes he ran that year came lined up as a receiver in the slot or out wide.”
The Georgia running back will appeal to teams looking for a back that can come in and provide an immediate impact out of the backfield as a receiver. He’s a player that can create mismatches and put stress on a defense. He’s hands down the best receiving running back in the 2023 NFL Draft. While he may never become a lead dog, he could carve out a long career as a third-down back.
“Georgia and Alabama were locked in a defensive struggle for most of the night,” Coffey said. “Alabama took a lead late in the third quarter and UGA’s offense finally went into high gear. When Todd Monken needed a drive in the fourth quarter of a national championship game he brought McIntosh onto the field and lined him up as a slot receiver. He had three receptions in that game. Two of them were crucial first downs on fourth-quarter scoring drives. He’s a savvy route runner who fights through contact in his breaks. Above all, he’s just a natural catcher of the football. He grabs it in-stride over his shoulder and we’ve seen him make some one-handed circus catches over the years. You won’t find a running back who is more natural catching the ball.”
Outside of what McIntosh offers as a receiving threat out of the backfield, McIntosh’s greatest strength may be his vision. He’s a patient runner and runs with good tempo. He lets the blocks set up and when he finds the crease he plants his foot and squirts through the hole with good burst.
An interesting stat from @DawgOutWest
There have only been three SEC players to have 800 rushing yards, 500 receiving yards and 10 TDs in a season this century:
The GA RB would be a great addition to any NFL RB room. (C'mon Gutey). pic.twitter.com/ssqrMMZJ6V
— Brennen Rupp (@Brennen_Rupp) March 14, 2023
“Kenny’s biggest strength is probably his vision,” Coffey said. “I’ve covered a lot of great Georgia running backs, Todd Gurley, Nick Chubb, Sony Michel, D’Andre Swift, and James Cook. None of those guys had vision early in their careers like McIntosh did when he stepped on campus. He didn’t play much in 2019 during his freshman year but when he did you could already see that he knew how to read blocks. He had a 62-yard touchdown run his first year late in a game against Arkansas State where everyone was kind of put on notice that the kid had some juice. That vision he has makes him play faster than his raw 40 time and it means he is setting up second and third-level defenders before he has gotten through the hole.”
McIntosh has good lateral agility to make people miss in space. He has sweet electric feet to make sharp, sudden cuts without throttling down. He has the contact balance to run through arm tackles. He’s dangerous when he reaches the second level due to his shiftiness. According to Pro Football Focus, McIntosh racked up 467 yards after contact this past season.
“McIntosh is great in space because he cuts at top speed and he gets to that speed quickly,” Coffey said. “When you watch him run into the second level his hips rarely get pointed in one direction for more than a split second. He is constantly making these little knife-like cuts where he dashes left and right and the basic premise behind his running style seems to be that he can change direction at speeds the defense can’t. McIntosh can go from a full sprint to stopped and then back to full speed again all in about 10 yards. He will use his burst to get into space on the boundary and then slow himself back down to let his wideouts back into the play and set up blocks.”
Fit with the Packers
The Green Bay Packers have their one-two punch at running back with Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon. With his ability to make an impact as a receiving back, McIntosh could be the perfect third running back for the Packers.
The Georgia running back is used to being part of a committee and playing his role. In Green Bay, he’d have a defined role during his rookie season.
Jones is the explosive, lead running back. Dillon is the hammer that will churn out tough yards. McIntosh may not see a ton of playing time with those two in front of him. However, he’s pro-ready and when he gets his opportunities he’d make the most of them.
McIntosh will make an immediate impact for a team due to his skills in the passing game. He may never be the lead dog at the next level, but with his ability to make plays in the passing game, he could be a team’s version of James White.
“He gives my offensive coordinator a ton of ways to stress a defense,” Coffey said. “I’m comfortable motioning him out wide and letting him run a go route if a linebacker follows him into man coverage. I’m comfortable giving him a run out of the shotgun on any down and distance. I’m not worried about him misreading a block if my quarterback goes under Center and pitches it to him on a toss sweep. He can read pulls and pick holes in zone. He can move the pile on 3rd & 2 and he can stick his foot in the dirt and create space on a four-yard out route on 3rd & 3. He will also stay in and block a free rusher if asked.”
Dillon is entering the final year of his rookie contract. How much longer will Jones be on Green Bay’s roster? The dynamic back will turn 29 in December.
At Georgia, McIntosh waited his turn to become the man for the Bulldogs. He was part of a committee and made the most of his opportunities when they came his way.
There is no reason to think he won’t do the same thing at the next level. With the Packers in need of a third back, adding a player with McIntosh’s skill set on day three of the draft would seem to be a perfect complement to Jones and Dillon.
“He always accepted any role he was given at Georgia and I think you have a guy who can be part of a productive running back duo for the next eight years in the NFL,” Coffey said. “He waited his turn behind some really good running backs in Athens but never talked about transferring and never complained about a lack of touches. If he went somewhere with a thinner running back room he’d have had the type of career numbers that Jahmyr Gibbs put up, but winning championships and achieving team goals was always more important to McIntosh than being the feature back. He also comes from a program with a championship culture where the athletes pride themselves on doing their jobs. There will be guys in this draft who have more exaggerated strengths than McIntosh does, but I don’t think you will see a running back in the 2023 draft that equals him in terms of not having any true weakness.”
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