Scouting Report: John Kelly, RB, UT

 John Kelly | 5’9 | 205 | I estimate 4.6 speed


Games Watched:

  • v. 3(7 at time) Georgia (12-2) (SECE) (19th in YPCa, 12th in YPGa, T-3rd in TDa) *16a / 44yds / 2.8ypc / 0 GTD -|- 4c / 47yds *
  • @ (24 at time) Florida (4-7) (SECE) (61st in YPCa, 51st in YPGa, T-43rd in TDa) 19a / 141yds / 7.4ypc / 1 GTD -|- 6c / 96yds
  • @ Missouri (7-6) (SECE) (47th in YPCa, 60th in YPGa, T-97th in TDa) 9a / 17yds / 1.9ypc / 0 GTD -|- 6c / 13yds
  • v Georgia Tech (5-6) (ACC) (80th in YPCa, 50th in YPGa, T-31st in TDa) 19a / 128yds / 6.7ypc / 4 GTD -|- 5c / 35yds

Career Stats

Year Games Played Carries Rush Yards YPC GTDs Catches Receiving Yards ATDs
2015 7 40 165 4.1 1 0 0 0
2016 10 98 630 6.4 5 6 51 0
2017 10 189 778 4.1 9 37 299 0

Injuries and workload

He has been injured in practice but, does not to have any injuries that will follow him into the league. I would expect him to miss a few games with concussions or dead shoulders during his career, limiting his long-term potential but, his playstyle will likely earn him a second contract as a backup at least. His workload is questionable which causes his yards/TDs to be low. For reference, during his 29 game career, he has fewer rush yards, receiving yards, and TDs than Saquon Barkley as a Sophomore on 80 more touches(carries+receptions). This alone may drop him very low or off team’s draft boards and I figure will significantly impact his draft position stock. The counterpoint to this is, he’s fresh which is rare for a player that runs like he does and could be a reason to believe he doesn’t get slowed down by injuries until after his rookie contract is over.


Best: Runs angry w/High motor, Patience, Catch radius

Athletically, Kelly displays elite balance, very good COD, good agility and physical strength, as well as solid acceleration and frame. He has elite toughness and has traits such as being aggressive and passionate when running, executes consistently vs. all competition, very aggressive at POA, always is downfield blocking when he’s off-ball, with a high motor, constantly fighting for extra yards, drives feet, embraces contact, feet do not stop in the hole regardless of opponent, and is dependable in short yardage clutch situations (3rd/4th and short and goal line). His vision is good exampled by, being able to set up blocks downfield, very good patience, and good ability to find cutback lanes on zone runs and get to them with a jump cut, and solid ability to find daylight in all blocking schemes. He has solid burst displayed by a very good jump cut, good stop/start and ability to separate from LOS on Inside Zone, and solid start/stop and creating separation from the hole on Outside Zone and Man blocked plays. He is very good at creating YAC/Finishing exampled by, very good to elite ability to branch arm tackles and finish with strength and balance vs DBs, very good ability to fall forward in packs, good to very good ability to finish with power vs LBs, good ability to finish with power vs. DL, fall forward 1v1 and finish with elusiveness vs LBs, and solid ability to finish with speed or elusiveness vs DBs and DL. He has a strong stiff arm, runs behind his pads and primarily uses a jumpcut to create space without using power. He is good as a receiver because he always uses and extends his hands to catch the ball, maximizes his catch radius, is very good at catching through contact and turning upfield on flats and screens, good at presenting hands/numbers to QB and creating separation on routes through burst, and is solid at creating separation physically. His current route tree is seam, flat, screen, check/release, and HB in-route. As a pass protector, he really wants to block and make contact all of the time, has good technique/hand placement and solid ability to anchor. He has reliable ball security, always keeping the ball high and tight.


Worst: Doesn’t always find holes, Rarely makes something out of nothing, Top speed/accel

Athletically, he has poor-adequate line speed. His mental processing is poor to adequate exampled in his adequate to poor ability to ID blocking assignments as a pass protector, poor at knowing where the hole will be pre-snap and does not turn/move defenders with his eyes. In his vision, he can sometimes be too patient and take the steam out of the play and is adequate at adjusting when the play breaks down on Man blocked plays. In his burst, he is poor at getting more than what’s blocked when there are defenders in the backfield and is adequate at forcing defenders to change pursuit angles. As a receiver, his catch radius is limited by his short to average arm length, does not line up out wide and displays adequate to solid ability to create separation mentally. In his ball security, his motor and running style may open him up to being stripped at the next level.

Pro Comp. and Projections:

Pro Comp:

  • Ceiling: MJD
  • Floor: Doug Martin
  • Reasoning: He runs tough, falls forward, makes one cut and goes, and is willing to pass protect. He isn’t going to outrun DBs but, they aren’t often going to take him 1v1.


He is a high potential player but, will need to be in a one cut scheme and have a solid or better OL because he won’t be making extra yards with vision. He can be an every-down back due to his pass protection (assuming he can be taught assignments) and receiving skills. He is a player you can win with and sometimes because of. He is a one-cut, downhill, tone-setter type of player. I have him in my third tier of RBs (behind Barkley, Guice, Penny, and Michel) with Nick Chubb as system-dependent backs with high ceilings. He will certainly fall in the rounds due to lack of production and I would expect a mediocre to average combine at best out of him.

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