The 2017 NFL Draft is fast approaching and some teams are working overtime while trying to find their franchise quarterback. The Dallas Cowboys found their key to the future in Dak Prescott with its fourth round draft pick in 2016. Prescott was highly rated as a National Player of the Year Candidate heading into the 2015 season for Mississippi State and finished the season as a finalist for a plethora of top player awards; he also was named the 2016 Senior Bowl MVP. Leading up to the draft, Prescott had a 2nd-round grade by most scouts but his draft stock slipped when he arrested for DUI weeks before the draft. Due to the off field infraction, many teams passed on him and he became a low-risk choice by the Cowboys and the rest is history.
The NFL Combine showcases many of the top quarterbacks hoping to be selected in the first round or to have instant success like Prescott but one quarterback who wasn’t a participant was University of Mississippi’s Chad Kelly, mainly because the NFL decided to take a hard stance on players who have gotten into off field trouble. He likely would have still missed showing off in front of scouts because he tore his ACL in an early November game. Kelly was cleared by doctors and was scheduled for abbreviated action during the Ole Miss Pro Day, however, he aggravated a wrist injury and had to cut his workout short. He’ll get one more chance to show his abilities to scouts April 22, just five days before the start of the NFL draft.
Kelly, just like Prescott, has great mobility and had much success during his one full season while playing for a school in Mississippi and was on many preseason watch lists for awards but that’s where the comparisons should end. Prescott was perceived to be a risk because of character issues but teams didn’t due their due diligence and got it wrong. Kelly, on the other hand, has a track record stemming from his high school days to being dismissed from Clemson to getting into a skirmish during an Ole Miss off week while watching his kid brother’s high school football game, which was probably the reason the league rescinded its invitation. On the field, Prescott is known for making smart decisions but has limitations when trying to throw downfield. Kelly has no such limitations; he’s actually known to have one of the better arms in this draft class.
Due to injury and character concerns, it’s likely that Kelly won’t be drafted before the sixth round, if at all. But one team that should be considering adding Kelly to the fold is the Kansas City Chiefs because head coach Andy Reid has gotten all that he can out of Alex Smith aka check down Charlie. Smith lacks the ability to push the ball down the field but he’s accurate enough to help Kansas City get to another 10-win season, but certainly, they are looking to be more than also-rans. This is the perfect situation for Kelly; he can learn under the quarterback gurus Reid and Brad Childress and watch how Smith prepares. During practices, Reid will salivate at the quarterback with the strongest arm he’s had at his disposal since Donovan McNabb.
By most accounts, this upcoming draft doesn’t have a signal caller who’s ready to lead an NFL team out the gate. Maybe because they haven’t seen what Kelly can do in a while and have forgotten about him. Don’t be surprised when Kelly jumps out on the scene and takes the league by storm in the near future. You heard it here first.