The 2020 NFL Draft is going to dominate the news over the coming weeks as it’s the biggest sporting event of this month on a usual circumstance but is the only ‘live’ sporting event upcoming. With that being said, we’re taking a minor look back to see where some of the big promotions place the UCLA Bruins players that we’re going to hear in the draft and where they stand among their peers.
Joshua Kelley ran wild for UCLA last year and the year prior, eclipsing 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons. He’s a true elusive guy with great speed and Rotoworld’s Thor Nystrom ranked him as the 15th-best running back in this draft class.
Kelley is what he is. An inside grinder with a little juice. Beats you to the spot. Good vision. Muscles around in there. He’s going to reliably churn out inside yards at the next level. But Kelley’s NFL contributions may begin and end between the tackles, and he’s no Derrick Henry.
Inside yardage is the cheapest asset you can buy in pro football. Kelley won’t give you a ton else. He could do a little damage on the outside in college, but his athletic limitations are probably going to severely limit that kind of usage going forward. His NFL team will always employ at least one runner who should be doing that work instead. Likely two.
And Kelley isn’t a big contributor in the pass game. He’s a so-so receiver and surprisingly substandard in pass pro for a banger. To hang around long-term, he’s going to need to level up in one of those two categories.
Seeing as though he spent five years in college, I guess I just see him as more of a finished product than a ball of clay in that regard.
One thing of note that I thought was particularly interesting was the usage of spider charts to display percentile ranks among the various combine measurables. Oft used in draft circles, I’ll place Kelley’s in here to discuss but I do recommend going and checking our Thor’s full writeup on the draft running backs.
His bench press and hand size/arm length each topple the 70th percentile barrier while his 40-yard dash hit it square on. Everything else is very interesting to see where he stacked up against his peers.
So, having said all of that, where would you have Kelley ranked in this year’s running back class that consists of Jonathan Taylor, D’Andre Swift, Eno Benjamin, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Cam Akers and many more?