Wide Receiver -
Combine Height: 6-4
Combine Weight: 224
Combine 40 Time: Did not run
Produced 49 catches for 821 yards and nine touchdowns in a somewhat injury-abbreviated junior season.
Kelly sports the blueprint for today’s NFL receiver: big and fast with good hands and body control. Unfortunately, he also seems to come with the prerequisite prima donna attitude many elite receivers have as well. First, the good: there’s no questioning Kelly’s size (a shade under 6-4 and 227 pounds at his pro day), and he demonstrated the ability to put that size to use: shielding defenders, competing for balls, going across the middle, even blocking downfield. His speed took a hit as he battled first a hip pointer and later what turned out to be a torn quad, and his pro day 40 times - which ranged from 4.55 to 4.71 over two runs, depending on when the scout’s stopwatch clicked - were nothing special. Kelly immediately pointed the finger at his alma mater, claiming he was prepared to run on Astroturf but was switched to a slower FieldTurf surface at the last minute.
Most scouts have seen enough film on Kelly to get a feel for his speed, but the shift-the-blame game suggests we have another diva receiver on our hands. Kelly also called out the Sooner medical staff for misdiagnosing his torn quad as a thigh bruise, but NFL teams have certainly overlooked more grievous personality traits if a player flashed the big-play ability Kelly possesses. Physically, he compares to Andre Johnson (without perhaps the top-end speed) or Larry Fitzgerald, a couple of productive pro pass-catchers. But he’ll need to work on his route-running to find the same success at the pro level.
The Bengals flew Kelly in for a visit following his pro day, and with Chris Henry gone and Chad Johnson possibly trade bait Cincy could be in the market for an elite receiver as early as their ninth overall selection. The Bills would dearly love a sizeable complement to Lee Evans and are a frequent Kelly mock draft destination with the 11th pick. Donovan McNabb would benefit from a target like Kelly, but the Eagles don’t tend to use first-round picks on pass catchers. And who better than a TO clone like Kelly to study under the original in Big D? The Cowboys have a pair of picks and aren’t exactly counting on Terry Glenn.
The rule of thumb for wideouts is to wait until Year Three, as the list of rookie receivers who make a fantasy impact out of the gate is extremely short. If Kelly’s thigh in any way impedes his participation in offseason workouts - his opportunity to get on the same page with his quarterback - you can lump him into the big pile of talented pass catchers whose best fantasy years are still down the road. If, however, he’s signed, in camp, healthy, and determined to prove the nay-sayers wrong he has the talent to contribute on a Marques Colston level in year one.
Dynasty leaguers should have no hesitation about Kelly, as he has everything necessary to succeed in the NFL; he may just not be special enough to make those contributions as a rookie. Besides, you can build a pretty good fantasy receiving corps if the only criteria is temperamental, egotistical, and/or psychotic behavior.