Chad Kelly, QB

School: Ole Miss  |  Conference: SEC
College Experience: Senior  |  Hometown: Buffalo, NY
Height/Weight: 6-2 / 228 lbs.
Projected Ranking
OverallPositionProj. Rnd.

Player Lowdown

Combine Results
40 Yd 20 Yd 10 Yd 225 Bench Vertical jump Broad Shuttle 3-Cone Drill
Workout Results
40 Yd 20 Yd 10 Yd 225 Bench Vertical jump Broad Shuttle 3-Cone Drill
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Player Overview

A two-year starter in the Rebels' spread scheme, Kelly had a roller coaster collegiate career, which includes several lows and highs both on and off the field. He might have the best highlights of any quarterback prospect in this class and when given enough time in the pocket, Kelly has the impressive arm talent to let loose and fire strikes downfield. He competes with a gunslinger mentality and his strengths show a future NFL starter, but streaky decision-making is problematic as he doesn't subscribe to the quarterback Hippocratic Oath (keep team from harm). He has a "Superman complex" according to one NFL general manager, which isn't the worst quality for a quarterback, but his team will also have to take the negative implications that come with that, including several past examples of immaturity that can't be ignored. With NFL physical traits, desired toughness and notable bloodlines, Kelly will receive a chance to be a pro, but enters the NFL with a "buyer beware" tag that will take him off several draft boards around the league.

Kelly was considered the No. 1 high school recruit in the state of New York and committed to Clemson over offers from Alabama, Florida State and others. With Tahj Body entrenched as the starter, Kelly redshirted in 2012 and served as the third-string quarterback in 2013, seeing minimal time in mop-up duty. He was in a three-way battle with Cole Stoudt and true freshman Deshaun Watson during the spring of 2014, but was dismissed from the program in April for "conduct detrimental to the team." Kelly went the JUCO route and led East Mississippi to the 2014 NJCAA National Title and was rated a four-star JUCO recruit, committing to Ole Miss. He won the Rebels' starting quarterback job in 2015 and led the SEC in passing with a school-record 4,042 passing yards, 31 passing touchdowns and 41 total scores, earning Second Team All-SEC honors (became the first Ole Miss quarterback to lead wins over Alabama, Auburn and LSU in the same season). Kelly returned to Ole Miss in 2016 and started the first nine games before suffering a season-ending knee injury, finishing his senior year with 62.5-percent completions, 2,758 passing yards and a 19-8 TD-INT ratio.

Strengths Weaknesses

STRENGTHS: Top-shelf arm strength and spins a pretty ball with unforced velocity. Adequate height with a well-built frame. Quick feet to move in the pocket and find better throwing platforms. Functional athleticism to extend plays and pick up chunk yards (almost 1,000 rushing yards over 22 career collegiate starts). Flashes impressive anticipation to deliver before receivers are out of their breaks - will give his receivers a chance to make plays. Experienced throwing the full route tree and making whole field reads. Very confident thrower and not shy about letting it loose. Willing learner and work ethic isn't a concern. Physically and mentally. Highly productive in the SEC (14-8 record career win-loss record), leaving Ole Miss No. 3 on the all-time passing yards list (6,856). NFL bloodlines as the nephew of Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly, who played 11 seasons for the Buffalo Bills.

WEAKNESSES: Frenetic footwork and weight distribution in his release, relying on his arm. Stubborn decision-maker and has the bad habit of pre-determining his throws, staring down targets and not making the correct post-snap reads. Excessively confident in his arm strength and too willing to force passes into heavy coverage. Hot/cold pocket awareness, leading to panic moments. Has torn the ACL in his right knee twice, first while at Clemson during the spring game (April 2013) and then as a senior at Ole Miss (Nov. 2016) - also underwent sports hernia surgery (April 2016) prior to his senior year. Diagnosed with ADD (attention deficit disorder) and the verbiage was made easier in the Ole Miss offense to accommodate, something that could be a "challenge" with a NFL playbook, according to Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze. History of run-ins with coaches, which led to several suspensions in high school and his dismissal from Clemson. Laundry list of off-field red flags that will concern NFL teams about his maturity and decision-making -- was arrested shortly after committing to Ole Miss (Dec. 2014) where he pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct after he was kicked out of a Buffalo nightclub and told police: "I'm going to go to my car and get my AK-47 and spray this place" while resisting arrest. A few incidents popped up during his senior season, including while at a high school game during the Ole Miss off-weekend (Oct. 2016) where he had to be restrained from storming the field after an on-field incident involving his younger brother. A photo also surfaced (Nov. 2016) of him allegedly rolling a marijuana blunt with friends, but there hasn't been confirmation of how old the picture is.

--Dane Brugler (1/3/17)

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