Ryan Kelly is a 3 year starter from the University of Alabama. The Alabama Crimson Tide utilize an offense with both man blocking and zone blocking schemes, making their offensive lineman ready for the NFL. At 6'4", 311 lbs. Kelly is bigger than most centers and would become one of the bigger centers in the NFL. Kelly won the Rilmington Trophy in 2015, a trophy that goes to the best center in college football. Kelly was the only Alabama player drafted in the 1st round and the 5th offensive linemen overall. He joins an exclusive list of centers drafted in the first round. The last 5 centers drafted in the first round are (in order): Travis Frederick, Mike & Maurkice Pouncey, Alex Mack and Eric Wood. That's a pretty good group of players. What does Kelly do well and what must he improve on? Here are points, backed up by some vine clips, that show what Kelly does well and what he must improve.
- Experienced player with 3 years as a starter in a pro style offense, scheme diverse offense.
- He gets off the line quickly
- He gets his hands up quickly and in the right position
- He gets to the 2nd level with relative ease.
- He is rarely going backwards and holds his ground very well thanks to a strong base; he anchors well from that base.
- He is a very gritty and strong player (26 bench reps) and will outwork his opponent on every play.
- He is a whistle to whistle player, and will sometimes land an extra shot in after the whistle.
- He has a tendency of getting too high in his stance immediately after contact.
- He can get lost in space.
- He doesn't always initiate good contact on the 2nd level.
- He is occasionally late on help/combo blocks and must support his guards earlier on many plays.
- Felt woozy (concussion) in the 1st half of the Texas A&M game, and missed the 2nd half. He did not miss any additional time.
Ryan Kelly is going to be an immediate starter and impact player for the Colts. On top of already having 3 years of experience in a pro style system, Kelly shows many of the great traits that you see in top centers in the NFL.
While Kelly is a better run blocker than he is a pass blocker, he is very good at both. He gets off the line quickly, iniates contact first, gets his hands in the right position and stops his opponents in their tracks. That's exactly what you look for from a center in a man blocking scheme. On zone blocking plays, he identifies the defender who is in his zone, showing good vision. He then takes good angles and drives defenders out of the play. He gets to the 2nd level with ease, but must work on sustaining blocks versus linebackers. He's a tough gritty, player who I never saw (I watched 5 games) get put on skates and pushed backwards.
He needs to improve getting his knees bent on every play and not getting too high up in his stance, He needs to work on initiating better contact on the 2nd level. It's one thing to get there quickly, but it's another to get rid of the linebacker. Also, he'll need to work on his timing when he's the help on combo blocks.
Overall, Kelly is the real deal. He looks like a center and he plays like a center. This is the gritty player that the Colts needed.