Chad Kelly has had a rough road to the 2017 NFL Draft, but one prominent analyst thinks the Ole Miss quarterback could still be a steal of a pick.
NFL Network’s Mike Mayock identified Kelly as his top “sleeper” prospect at quarterback. Despite his recent injuries and questionable decision-making off the field, Mayock thinks he’s “one of the top five quarterbacks in this draft” based on talent.
“He’s got a big arm,” Mayock said. “If you look at his two Alabama tapes – we make a big deal about (Deshaun) Watson’s tapes against Alabama – but if you watch Kelly against them, it’s just about as good. He’s a little bit of a gunslinger. He throws some interceptions. But there’s no question about arm strength. He’s a competitor.”
Kelly suffered a season-ending ACL injury in November. Then he suffered a wrist injury at Ole Miss’ pro day that will sideline him for at least three months. Those injuries, coupled with concerns about his character, have made some teams hesitant about taking him.
However, Mayock still thinks the Ole Miss quarterback is one of the more promising prospects in the draft.
“He’s not your typical sleeper because he’s pretty well known,” Mayock said. “He’s going to go late if he goes at all. But somebody is going to get a bargain with starting-caliber traits you can work with.”
Where will Chad Kelly be drafted?
Projections: Round 6-7, or undrafted
Mayock said he thinks Kelly will go in the last two rounds of the draft, but that he might not get drafted at all.
“I think somebody is going to draft Kelly in the sixth or seventh round and get a really talented kid who, two to three years from now, might compete for a starting job,” Mayock said.
CBS Sports currently ranks Kelly as the No. 10 quarterback prospect in the draft and projects him as a seventh-round pick.
Possible teams for Chad Kelly
Here are some teams that could be fits for the Ole Miss quarterback.
New York Jets
The Jets find themselves in need of a quarterback once again after a disappointing season from Ryan Fitzpatrick. If they don’t take a quarterback like Mitchell Trubisky or Deshaun Watson in the first round, they may be interested in Kelly as a developmental prospect.
The Texans just moved on from the Brock Osweiler experiment. They’re looking for a passer who can get their offense to somewhat competent levels. With weapons like DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller, Kelly would have plenty of chances to show off his arm strength.
New England Patriots
The Patriots have been known to take quarterback projects later in the draft. Tom Brady doesn’t seem to be slowing down as he gets older. However, he won’t play forever. New England could bring in Kelly and groom him as the eventual backup to Jimmy Garoppolo. Then in a few years, the Patriots could trade him for draft picks as they so often do. Or, if Garoppolo gets traded, New England could slide Kelly into the backup role.