Mentioning John Kelly’s name might not garner a lot of attention from the casual college football fan, but make no mistake that Kelly has worked his tail off to be in the position he sits in today.
In 2016, Kelly did not experience much playing time at all while being behind Jalen Hurd, reigning NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, Alvin Kamara, and even the starting quarterback, Joshua Dobbs, saw more carries during the season.
With all of those players out of the way, Kelly saw his best season yet while rocking the orange and white of the Tennessee Volunteers.
In 2017, Kelly started 11 games and finished the year with 831 rushing yards and nine touchdowns on only 189 carries. For math heads at home, that amounts to 4.39 yards per carry, definitely a number you want to see from any running back in the game, NFL or not. Kelly also caught 37 passes for 299 yards (NFL.com).
Kelly has all the positives you could want in a running back. He has a low center of gravity and is able to keep his balance, a great stiff arm and he creates his yardage through his powerful running. Unfortunately, there is always a downside.
At 5’10”, Kelly is undersized, although he weighs in at 216 pounds. Kelly has average quickness, below average speed and is tardy accelerating after jump cuts (NFL.com).
As a projected 4th round draft pick, Kelly will look to make his impact as a rotational player in the backfield, most likely on a winning team.
Draft Projection: Round 4
NFL Comparison: Corey Clement
Broad Jump: 120 inches
Vertical Jump: 35 inches
Bench Press: 15 reps
*Note: NFL.com lists Kelly at 5’10” and 216 pounds. 247 Sports lists Kelly at 5’9″ and 205 pounds.