2018 Raiders Prospect Profile
Name: John Kelly
Weight: 215 pounds
Despite his frame, Kelly runs with aggression. When he chooses a hole and attacks, Kelly looks ready to deliver punishment. Instead of bracing for impact, Kelly meets defenders with good pad level. As a result, flimsy arm tackles appear easily broken and Kelly makes his way down the field. Kelly will attempt to truck anyone in his path. When he detonates that stiff-arm, opponents find themselves on the ground.
For all of Kelly’s positives in how he runs, the way he runs could be a tad sharper. Granted, Kelly takes the handoff and bolts. Yet, if he let his eyes slow down slightly, he would see holes or daylight open at the second level. Instead of laying waste to defenders, Kelly would see more open field yards.
Although Kelly would rather use his shoulder than his feet, he will make the first defender miss. Granted, his jump cut and perimeter running are not superlative, he churns out yards. When Kelly eludes a tackle, watch his hips twitch and he will explode upfield.
In the open field, Kelly can rip off large chunks of yardage. However, he will not consistently run away from defenders. That is to say, his speed remains adequate but not outstanding for the position. At the same time, Kelly’s speed becomes irrelevant when he is salting the clock and finishing off a defense.
Throughout 2017, Kelly serves as a dump-off, security blanket for the offense. To his credit, Kelly snagged 37 passes. More importantly, he bailed out poor QB play with the ability to adjust and pull the ball from harm’s way. If Kelly went to a school with a more accurate quarterback, his reception numbers would rise.
Red Flag: In October 2017, Kelly was cited for possession of marijuana. The university suspended him one game.
Whether Marshawn Lynch’s status remains nebulous, the show must go on. Can Kelly be a bellcow that the Raiders need? If you look at his low usage in college (370 touches), bruising style, and ability to break tackles, the answers looks like a yes. Kelly will not make anyone forget about Lynch. Conversely, he will give the Raiders a 20-25 carry back with plenty of tread on the tire. Kelly’s running style, combined with the interior offense line could produce a thousand yard back in Oakland.