The most polarizing quarterback in this year’s draft could possibly end up being Chad Kelly. Kelly is the nephew of NFL Hall of Fame QB Jim Kelly, and has played under the spotlight since his high school football days. On the field, Chad Kelly has been as productive as any quarterback in the country, displaying a gunslinger mentality with a wild edge to him.
In the spotlight, Kelly has plenty of red flags from his own high school days, up to an incident of charging the field during a scuffle at his younger brother’s game this past fall. He will have to win over decision makers to hear his name called in April.
Kelly’s pro day results before the season had him at 6’1.5” and 224 pounds. He has a compact build that is fully developed. His body is built similarly to Drew Brees, who has held up in the NFL taking hits. He has shown the ability to take plenty of hits on the run or in the pocket in the SEC.
Arm Strength (7): Kelly has plenty of arm strength and has displayed the ability to drive the ball into tight windows versus NFL-type talent in the secondary. He can push the ball down the field in each third of the gridiron.
As with many quarterbacks who go through hot and cold spells in games, Kelly has a tendency to have ups and downs on a weekly basis. He has a gunslinger mentality which leads him to try to fit the ball into tighter windows than he can, which also usually comes hurried or late.
Kelly shows the understanding of what type of ball to throw with the route versus coverages. He has the arm strength to make the necessary throw. He throws a catchable ball that the receiver can easily track.
Set Up/Delivery/Release (7):
Kelly has a compact starting point after receiving the snap. His feet are connected to his body when moving through his reads. He has an over the top delivery that can get long at times which slows down the release. He throws with his back half of his body very well adding to velocity on the ball.
Kelly won’t be confused for a running quarterback but he has the ability to extend plays with his legs, and be used at times in read options as a threat to tuck it and run. When extending plays, Kelly is a passer first looking to get the ball down the field to open receivers.
Pocket Presence/Poise/Decision Making/Football IQ (5):
Kelly plays with a wild streak. At times, he is as poised as can be in the pocket, but when things start to snowball he can get off kilter and frantic in the pocket, and that’s when he starts forcing throws or taking chances that lead to turnovers. He has a grasp of the changes in defenses he has seen versus top competition.
Kelly’s has the ability to be drafted come April off of the traits he brings to the table as well as production that he has shown at Ole Miss in his almost two season there. The team that drafts Kelly will need to understand they are getting a player that is an intense, unpredictable risk taker. If tempered, Kelly has the ability to be a middle level starter in the league, or at least a solid backup. Kelly’s past is littered with off-field concerns, and the interview process will be vital to where and who drafts Kelly. He has been praised for his time at Ole Miss as being a great leader, hard worker, and model student and teammate. Much of the past troubles appeared to be behind him, but before his season-ending injury he ran onto the field at his brother’s high school game after a dirty hit. This will bring up the questions if he has matured during his time at Ole Miss or did the coaching staff have to keep close tabs on him to keep him out of trouble?
Kelly is coming off of a torn ACL and lateral meniscus which with a good rehab and healing puts him back before training camp next year, but will keep out of the Senior Bowl for everything but measurements and interviews.