Big Cat Country’s post-draft Q&A series continues by taking a closer look at Mississippi running back Snoop Conner, whom the Jaguars selected in the fifth round (No. 154 overall) during the 2022 NFL Draft.
To give us some more insights into Conner’s time with the Rebels, we spoke with the managing editor at Red Cup Rebellion — SB Nation’s website for all things Ole Miss — who goes simply by the username, “One Man To Beat.”
What kind of tailback is Jacksonville getting in Conner? Is he more than just a short-yardage specialist? Why did he split time in the backfield without securing the lead role? Let’s find out.
1. What are Conner’s strengths as a running back? What does he need to work on to get better at in the NFL?
Snoop showed the ability to run people over in college, which has been a strength for him, and it quickly made him a fan favorite. He also has an interesting note in his college career as he rushed for more than 100 yards and two touchdowns against Alabama — one of just six running backs to ever do that against a Nick Saban-led Crimson Tide team. I think at the next level, he will have to work on avoiding some of that contact, because he won’t be able to just power through tacklers at the second level of the defense.
2. Conner has a reputation as a short-yardage back. But does he bring more to the table than this? How do you envision his role with the Jaguars next to James Robinson and Travis Etienne?
I’m not sure he has that next level speed to burn defenses for 30 or 40 yard runs, though he did have some long runs at Ole Miss. I do think he is more than just a third-down guy, and he will benefit from being in a running back by committee platoon system. He was one of three regularly used backs at Ole Miss, so there were times when he may have only had eight carries, but scored twice and got 60 yards. He had other games, however, where he got 12-15 carries and would reach the 100-yard mark, so he could be serviceable in my opinion as a change of pace guy compared to Robinson and Etienne.
3. Does Conner offer anything in the passing game in terms of being able to catch out of the backfield or pass protection? Does he bring any special teams value to the Jaguars?
I would say this is more of an area of weakness or maybe just an unknown. Jerrion Ealy was more of the pass-catching back in the Ole Miss offense, so Snoop got limited passes thrown his way as he only logged 14 catches last season. As far as pass protection, the Ole Miss offense is built around RPOs (run-pass-option) and up-tempo sets and speed, so running back pass protection was not utilized as much as some other offenses you may see. I think his value is in that he is a guy from Hattiesburg, Mississippi, which is a college town in the middle of nowhere Mississippi (about an hour away from any large city), and he is country strong, not afraid of contact, and will bring a fantastic work ethic to the weight room.
4. Conner was drafted in the fifth round and was the 13th running back off of the board. Is that where you expected Conner to go, or do you believe the Jaguars are getting a “steal” with Conner at that spot?
I think Snoop went about where fans expected him to go, maybe a little later than where he thought he would go. In my opinion, drafting most running backs in the first two rounds is not a good investment most times just because of typically how short their careers are in the NFL. I’m not sure Snoop is a steal in the fifth round, but I do think if he gets his chance to log significant carries, fans may eventually feel that way. The Jags found James Robinson as a MASSIVE steal (undrafted free agent), so maybe their front office has an eye for finding more under the radar running backs.
5. Conner split time in Mississippi’s backfield with Jerrion Ealy. While Ealy had more rushing yards, Conner had more touchdowns and was drafted, meanwhile Ealy was not. Is there a particular reason why Conner was not the main featured back for the Rebels, or is it just more about the scheme/system at Ole Miss under Lane Kiffin?
Ealy was a five-star prospect out of high school, plus he also played baseball at Ole Miss. I think there was undoubtedly some pressure to keep him on the football field and away from baseball where he was not really excelling nearly as much. Ealy had more pass-catching ability and home-run speed, so he would get more nods out of the backfield.
6. Is there anything else Jaguars fans should know about Conner on or off the field?
As far as our staff knows, Snoop avoided any off the field issues, and he was a good student, making honor roll a couple times while at Ole Miss. He was an absolute iron man stud in high school and played as a do-everything quarterback. He totaled more than 8,400 yards of offense and 63 touchdowns in high school, passing and rushing combined — just one of those situations where the coach gives one of the best athletes in the state the ball as much as possible. Snoop should be a teammate who is well liked and puts in the work to get his job done.
Thank you to “One Man To Beat” for providing great insights and thoughts into what Conner brings to Jacksonville’s backfield. If you are interested in Ole Miss athletics, be sure to follow Red Cup Rebellion on Twitter.