Chad Kelly, James Conner Draft Profiles

Philip Tor | JR355

Top to bottom this is a rather full draft class. The first round is sure to be full of potential superstars, but don’t be surprised to see big names being called on the third day. Two players that have tremendous value that will most likely be called on day 3 are Pitt Tailback James Conner, and Ole Miss Quarterback Chad Kelly.

These players both have had illustrious college careers, but for different reasons.


James Conner
(AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, FILE)


Pitt RB James Conner was on a path for stardom until his diagnosis. In 2014 Conner was voted ACC Player of the Year after rushing for over 1700 yards and 26 TD’s. Then  in the first game of the 2015 season, Conner suffered an MCL tear ending his season. Later on during tests a tumor was uncovered on Conner’s chest, and was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. He endured 12 round of intense chemotherapy yet still attended workouts and practices, rallying his teammates  and showing off his strength. Conner is well on his way back to his 2014 form.

He is a great downhill rusher, who works best in between the tackles. He uses his unique size and speed combo to burst through the line of scrimmage. Conner also has great skill in eluding tacklers. Conner also proved he worth as a pass catcher in during the 2016 season, catching 4 TDs. Conner is one of those players who does many things extremely well, but his lack of breakaway speed and questionable health are why analysts project Conner to end up being selected day 3. Teams that should have Conner on their radar are the Ravens, Giants, Packers, Seahawks, Patriots (if Blount leaves), and the Vikings (if Peterson leaves).



NCAA Football: Sugar Bowl-Oklahoma State vs Mississippi
Jan 1, 2016; Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

The other player who deserves a chance in the NFL is Ole Miss QB Chad Kelly. Kelly has had somewhat of a questionable past. Kelly is the nephew of NFL Hall of Famer and former Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly, and has worked closely with his uncle throughout his football career. Kelly has had numerous off the field issues which make the scouts question his character and maturity. Even the NFL combine won’t let Kelly participate “because of an obscure league policy related to the disciplinary history of draft prospects.”

Even though CHad will not get to show off his skills at the combine, he will still most likely be drafted in April. Kelly has a high level of talent and skill at the QB position. His toughness and passion cannot be questioned. his attitude and pride are what people are concerned about. If Kelly gets drafted it must be to a team with an established system. Teams like New England, Pittsburgh, Seattle, Green Bay, or Arizona come to mind as the top spots where Kelly could land. Analysts have predicted Kelly at rounds 5-6, I believe he will drop to the 6-7 category because of his off his past.

Both guys above have superb potential, but because of their pasts they might slip in the draft. I do believe both players will eventually get drafted and be on a roster in 2017.




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