Matt Waldman’s Rookie Scouting Portfolio examines RB John Kelly, a 2018 NFL Draft Prospect from Tennessee with an impressive skill set.
Alvin Kamara is lighting up the league as part of a fantastic Saints ground attack. I thought Kamara was an excellent fit for the Saints. His quickness, agility, receiving skill, and balance against indirect contact was an excellent match for the part of a satellite back in the New Orleans offense.
However, Kamara has exceeded expectations with his decision-making between the tackles and ball security. He struggled with these facets of the game at Tennessee, and it’s difficult to predict how fast a player will improve — if at all. Bishop Sankey never improved his decision-making, but Jamaal Charles shored up his choices and ball security between his rookie and second year to become a star.
Kamara’s former teammate John Kelly lacks Kamara’s speed and size, but he’s a strong decision-maker between the tackles, possesses great pad level to generate yards after contact, and he’s a versatile option who can bedevil defenders in space. Kelly reminds me of Ahmad Bradshaw, another smaller and “slower” back whose quickness, balance and vision bedeviled NFL defenses for several years.
This week’s Film Room is an extended look at Kelly’s performance against the Florida Gators — a game where he carries this team to the threshold of a victory but drops the potential difference maker at the goal line. If you want to learn which traits help a smaller back translate to the NFL, this episode is for you.
For analysis of skill players, get the Rookie Scouting Portfolio. Better yet, if you’re a fantasy owner the Post-Draft Add-on comes with the 2012 – 2017 RSPs at no additional charge. Best, yet, 10 percent of every sale is donated to Darkness to Light to combat sexual abuse. You can purchase past editions of the Rookie Scouting Portfolio for just $9.95 each.