Despite earning all league honors in high school, Josh Kelley was barely recruited and his only offer was to UC Davis. While at UC Davis Kelley shined as their lead tailback and as a kick returner but when the coaching staff was fired at the end of his sophomore season he decided to challenge himself which lead to transferring to UCLA. Kelley quickly established himself as one of the bright spots on the Bruins tough season rushing for 1,243 yards and 12 touchdowns. Now entering his senior season Josh Kelley is looking to prove himself as one of the top backs in the 2020 NFL Draft class.
What Kelley Does Well
Josh Kelley is an explosive back that is at his best when he can make a quick cut and get up field. Utilizing good vision and quick cuts Kelley is able to see running lanes open up and then put a foot down and explode towards it. Kelley isn’t overly elusive but his ability to make a quick lateral cut or go in a different direction with burst can allow him to run past defenders and get to open area. Based on the UCLA offense it allows Kelley the ability to run in some pretty big holes but he does show that he can run through arm tackles and even lower his shoulders at contact to keep moving forward.
Concerns about Kelley
Despite being listed at 219lbs Kelley doesn’t run with much power and looks like someone who could struggle if they were asked to run between the tackles on a regular basis. His best runs came on outside zones where he could make one cut and hit the hole hard. Because of this Kelley will likely be limited to zone heavy schemes because he can’t start and stop or navigate his way through traffic.
Josh Kelley NFL Draft Outlook
If Josh Kelley can get in a zone heavy scheme he has the shot to carve out a nice role and could even become a teams lead back. He shows good vision and has the burst and change of direction skills to get to the hole and even elude defenders. Having experience and success as a kicker returner should only improve his stock with teams. But that being said he looks like a quality #2 with a team and likely will be a mid round selection. Good player but not great.