John Kelly – Tennessee
RB 5’9″ 205
Every year, there is a player who sneaks up on you; this year, that under-the-radar player is John Kelly. Well, at least he WAS under-the-radar…
Kelly runs with a vengeance. His mission is to punish each and every defender who crosses his path (and even some that don’t.) When Kelly isn’t stiff-arming a corner into oblivion, he is lowering his pad level and delivering maximum force. But even this is done with a subtle intelligence; when Kelly takes on a defender, it’s usually to one side of his mass, allowing Kelly to deliver a hit and keep his balance to continue the run. Kelly has great leg drive, always plowing foreword after contact, but when he gets through a hole, Kelly has good burst and decent speed to the second level. The coup de grace of John Kelly’s skillset, however, comes in the passing game. He runs crisp routes out of the backfield or split wide, and Kelly has tremendous hands. This separates him from a number of other one-dimensional backs in this class.
The most obvious negative about John Kelly is his size; he is listed at 5’9″ 205 (which is lighter than is ideal for a potential feature back.) Along with concerns about a small frame carrying a heavy workload, Kelly’s size is detrimental to his pass blocking. At best, he manages to round the angle of an edge defender, and in worst case scenarios, he gets completely run over due to poor technique. Kelly is a better receiver than runner, partially because of his borderline obsession with initiating contact with defenders. He will even occasionally leave yards on the field just to punish a corner.
All totaled, John Kelly is a back worth keeping an eye on. Depending on his landing spot, he could range from a better than average complimentary receiving back, all the way to a pass-catching back with three-down upside. And that is an exciting profile.