Games Evaluated: 2019 Vs: Washington State, Arizona 2018 VS: USC
Report By: Ali Jawad
Top End Speed: 5.50
Kelley shows the quickness in his initial reaction when locating the hole and is able to maintain balance when contacted and his tough to bring down. He has an impressive first cut when changing his direction inside or outside mainly though when running downhill but won't consistently make multiple cuts on one play he is primarily a one-cut back. As far as his explosiveness he has shown numerous times that he can explode off that first cut downhill and run right through the hole into the second level of the defense. A big knock here is his top-end speed as he doesn’t have breakaway speed in space and defenders will eventually catch up to him.
WITH BALL IN HANDS: 6.80
Cutting Ability: 6.00
Yards After Contact: 7.00
Ball Security: 8.00
Hole location and vision is a big strength in his game he knows exactly where he is going at the first level of the play then will do a great job maintaining the run and finding open space at the second level of the defense. Ball security improved from 2018 with 3 fumbles to 2019 with his lone fumble coming against Oregon State and at times will tuck the ball in when running downhill. He is at his best as a one-cut back going downhill. As far as elusiveness he won't shake off many defenders or go around them instead he will lower his shoulder into the face of defenders and is a run you over type back. Does a good job gaining YAC thanks to his tough physical running and his aggressiveness at the point of attack. At times will fall forward or extend the ball forward to ensure he gains dirty yards right before the play is over.
Route Running: 5.00
Ability In Space: 5.00
Ability To Separate: 5.50
As a receiver, he wasn't heavily utilized much in the passing game in 2019 with just 11 receptions compared to 27 receptions in 2018. The majority of his receptions came out of the flat and was used primarily as an outlet receiver. One thing that stands out the most is his ability to adjust his body to make more difficult receptions while maintaining his balance. Separation is not much of a factor due to his limited production in the passing game.
Lead Blocking: 5.00
Blocking In Space: 5.00
Pass Blocking: 5.50
Situational Awareness: 5.00
As a blocker, he shows willingness against defenders but tends to try and catch block more than lowering his shoulder into defenders or using his hands. Similar to his lack of usage in the passing game Kelley wasn't called much upon to serve as a blocker. However, given his aggressive style of play and willingness to block it's an area where Kelley has room to grow in and show improvement.
From a production standpoint ran for back to back 1,000-yard seasons, as well as 24 rushing touchdowns in his two years starting for the Bruins, was second in the PAC-12 in rushing yards per game (96.4). Had four 100 yard rushing games in 2019 and six in 2018. Proved to be a work horse back with double-digit carries in nine games as well as 20 plus carries in 6 games and a 40 carry game against USC. He comes off with a tough physical running style and is not afraid to challenge anyone downhill. As far as teamwork he was voted team MVP in his two seasons playing for the Bruins.
Does a good job allowing his blockers to get set and knows exactly where the window of opportunity is. Will show willingness as a blocker but could stand to be more physical and was not much of a factor in the receiving game overall was primarily used as a runner. Watching him play he will consistently pick the right lane to run through each time but could learn to be more physical against defenders in blocking rather than trying to catch the defender.
Kelley is a tough downhill physical runner who will embrace contact and is not afraid to lower his shoulder into defenders. He does a great job in hole location and identification and has a sharp first cut that allows him to explode downhill. Thanks to his aggressive running style he is a big factor in yardage after contact and will consistently try and fight his way through contact. He was heavily productive over the last two seasons serving as a workhorse back. In two seasons he fumbled just four times and will secure the ball well when contacted by defenders. Was twice voted as team MVP by his coaches. Work ethic is unquestionable started his career at UC Davis before transferring and walking on to the Bruins and would work his way up to starting RB for the Bruins and would post back to back 1,000-yard season and 25 total touchdowns. Shows willingness as a blocker and a receiver.
A big knock on Kelley's game is his ability to explode on big runs doesn’t really possess the breakaway speed when running in the open field. Is only a one-cut back and is not the change of direction type of player that some of the top backs in this class are. As far as versatility goes he shows willingness as a blocker and potential as receiving threat out of the backfield but was primarily only a runner in the Bruins offense. While he is quick with his first cut and shows good balance when contacted but his game does not call for much athleticism as he is seen as more of a ground and pound type runner.
Kelley was one of the bright spots on a Bruins team that finished just an overall 4-8 record and missed bowl season for the second year in a row. His tough physical running style makes him a great option in short-yardage situations and can serve as a quality depth piece in a team’ s back field. Projection: Day 3 Pick late 4th rounder-Mid 5th rounder. Team Fits: Los Angles Rams, Pittsburgh Steelers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jacksonville Jaguars. Player Comparison: CJ Anderson