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Rough Draft with Revenge of the Birds Week 7

Each week, ROTB Lead Writer Justin Higdon provides a quick rundown of the latest NFL Draft-related news, notes and takes. Plus, a look ahead to the weekend’s most intriguing matchups

NCAA Football: Memphis at Mississippi Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

In the Spotlight

Chad Kelly

Ole Miss had a bye last weekend, so senior starting quarterback Chad Kelly returned home to the Buffalo, NY area to visit family and take in his brother’s high school football game. During the course of the game, Casey Kelly was hit late out of bounds, a skirmish broke out between players from both teams, and the older Kelly ran onto the field where he had to be restrained by coaches and players.

Since last Friday, Chad Kelly has called his outburst a “bad decision,” only to go on to excuse the behavior by stating, “If I could've did it differently, I definitely would have. I obviously wouldn't have went and ran on the field of course, but I regret doing it, but at the same time I'm sure any of us, if we seen a family member out there in need of help, we would've came to the rescue too." This is nonsense. Rescue? His brother was not jumped on the street, or sucker punched. This was extracurricular action during the course of a game.

Fights during sporting events aren’t uncommon. This one may have gone beyond the scope of what we’d normally see at a high school game, but Casey Kelly had his teammates on hand to defend him, and coaches and officials there to help break things up. A number of students were involved in the melee. Yet it appears that Chad was the only family member to involve himself despite his assertion that “any of us” would have done what he did.

Was the 22-year old planning to engage in fisticuffs with 14-18 year old high schoolers? What if his brother had been on a middle school team and a fight broke out? Or what if his brother was in college or the NFL, where running onto the field would have certainly been a cause for security to get involved? Simply put, his actions are unacceptable at any level. I’m not suggesting he be charged with a crime or punished by Ole Miss, but he does have to live with the fact that he acted like a punk last Friday, and that will potentially impact his future employment.

Before anyone brushes this off as a young person making a mistake, this was not Chad’s first off-the-field issue. Before this latest incident he was…

1. Dismissed from the Red Lion High School (PA) football team as a sophomore

2. Dismissed from Clemson for conduct detrimental to the team

3. Arrested following a bar fight in Buffalo in December 2014. He later agreed to a plea bargain

This is strike four. Maybe strike three if we don’t count high school. But again, here was a senior who plays the most important position on his FBS team, going to a high school football game on his week off, and making a fool of himself. It’s a shame too, because Kelly is a talented guy, strong-armed and athletic, who’s having a strong statistical year. He’s completing 66% of his third down passes and converted a first down 44% of the time, and he has thrown nine red zone touchdowns without an interception. But he can’t stay out of his own way, and if I were running an NFL personnel department, it would be practically impossible for me to trust him at this point.

A Peek at he 2017 WR Class

Last year, I had a hard time settling on the top receiver in the class. I wound up giving Josh Doctson “WR1” billing because of his combination of height, speed and athleticism, and I was also very high on Ohio State’s Michael Thomas. But the guy I was really enamored with - the guy I wish I’d had the guts to jump to the top - was Notre Dame’s Will Fuller. Not one player in the draft could torch a defense like he could. Sure he had some drops, but he also scored so many touchdowns, and his mere presence was a constant worry for the opposition. Fuller just wasn’t quite the type of guy I thought of as a “number one,” so maybe I forced things with the bigger guys. Having a “type” was probably a flawed line of thinking in the first place, and so was thinking that the number one receiver in a class has to be a number one receiver on an NFL team. Not all draft classes are created equally.

With that in mind, some of the most exciting 2017 receivers are the smaller, “slot” guys. I talked about Ohio State’s Curtis Samuel, and his all-purpose ability last week. North Carolina’s Ryan Switzer is an outstanding route runner with sticky hands and dynamic return ability. Western Kentucky’s Taywan Taylor is his school’s all-time leading receiver. And Washington junior John Ross is one of the hottest names among analysts because he might be even faster than Fuller.

If he is indeed a sub-4.3 second guy, or even if he just matches Fuller’s 4.31 40 time, Ross will probably be the top receiver on more than a few draft boards. Either way, between Ross and those other players I mentioned, there appears to be plenty of starting-caliber talent available in the late Day One-to-Day Two range, without forcing the issue looking for a big man who “looks the part.”

Box Score of the Week

Chase Edmonds RB Fordham

17 ATT 359 YDS 4 TD rushing, 1 REC 17 YDS receiving

The 5’9” junior running back averaged an FCS-record 21.1 yards per carry last weekend in a win over Lafayette, and broke his own single-game Patriot League mark for rushing yardage. On the season, Edmonds leads the FCS with 944 rushing yards and 12 rushing TDs, and is averaging nine yards per carry.

Hot Take of the Week

This week’s take comes from Luke Easterling of The Draft Wire, who wrote about his six most overrated prospects for the 2017 NFL Draft. Above we see that Luke won’t be sold on Texas Tech junior quarterback Pat Mahomes until he faces NFL defenses, or performs outside of the Air Raid offense. These will be nearly impossible hurdles for young Mahomes, as he is a true junior playing for an Air Raid team, ineligible for all-star games, and whose first opportunity to face an NFL defense in a game situation will come next August at the earliest.

Looking Ahead

Nebraska at Indiana Saturday 3:30 PM ET

The Huskers are a fun team to watch despite the absence of injured slot receiver Jordan Westerkamp. Senior QB Tommy Armstrong still has draftable weapons in running back Terrell Newby, and wideouts Alonzo Moore and Brandon Reilly.

Alabama at Tennessee Saturday 3:30 PM ET

I’m pretty sure I include Tennessee here every week because they always seem to be playing another ranked opponent. Running back Jalen Hurd comes back from injury in time to face the menacing Tide defense.

Ole Miss at Arkansas Saturday 7:00 PM ET

Chad Kelly can begin another round of damage control with a strong outing on the road against the 22nd-ranked Razorbacks.

Ohio State at Wisconsin Saturday 8:00 PM ET

The Buckeyes are 10.5-point favorites for a road night game, and just about every gambler I’ve heard from this week is taking the Badgers to cover at home. Maybe the sharps don’t have faith in J.T. Barrett after Urban Meyer kept the cuffs on the passing game for two-and-a-half quarters last week. But I have trouble figuring out where Wisconsin is going to get points against the second-ranked scoring defense in the nation. I am expecting a relatively low-scoring affair, but I think The OSU covers this week