Photo of Malcolm Kelly
Grade
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  • 6'4" Height
  • 218LBS. Weight

Overview

In a program known for its running game, Malcolm Kelly might not have gotten as many opportunities as other lead receivers.

He made the most of the chances he did have, making the passing game another weapon in the Sooners' arsenal over the last three years from the split end position.

Despite playing only three seasons at Oklahoma, he finished his career as the school's fifth-leading receiver with 144 catches. He also ranks second on the Sooners' all-time record list for receiving yardage (2,285), touchdown catches (21) and games with at least 100 yards receiving (nine). His 21 scoring receptions also rank tied for seventh in Big Twelve Conference history.

At Longview High School, Kelly was a three-time All-District first-team wide receiver, adding All-State accolades as a junior and senior. He was named first-team All-East Texas by the Texas Sports Writers Association. He received a five-star prospect rating from Scout.com and four stars from Rivals.com. Rivals.com also rated him sixth on their Texas Top 100 List. He was rated the best receiver in Texas by Scout.com and 13th in the nation by ESPN.com.

Kelly hauled in 29 passes for 638 yards (22-yard average) and nine touchdowns during his senior campaign. During his junior year, he was credited with 27 receptions for 826 yards (30.6 avg), including six scores.

Oklahoma won a recruiting war vs. LSU, Nebraska, Texas and Tennessee for Kelly's services in 2005. He was named to The Sporting News' Freshman All-American team as an honorable mention and All-Big Twelve Conference first-team. He started seven of 11 games, lining up for five contests at flanker before shifting to split end for the final two contests. The true freshman paced the Sooners with 471 yards on 33 catches (14.3-yard average), coming up with a pair of touchdowns.

Firmly entrenched at split end, Kelly received second-team All-Big Twelve Conference honors in 2006. He led the team in receiving for the second straight year, coming up with a career-high 62 receptions for 993 yards (16.0-yard average) and 10 touchdowns. He also posted one solo tackle. He averaged 70.93 yards receiving per game, the fifth-best total in the league that year, but he had a concussion early in the year vs. Texas A&M and suffered knee cartilage damage vs. Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl and was limited in 2007 spring drills.

Kelly helped break in a new quarterback in Sam Bradford in 2007, as the receiver earned All-Big Twelve second-team recognition. He ranked second on the team, grabbing 49 passes for 821 yards (16.8-yard average) and nine touchdowns. He missed most of the Oklahoma State clash with a hip pointer suffered on the game's first play and for the second straight year, he made an early exit from the Fiesta Bowl with a leg contusion.

In 39 games at Oklahoma, Kelly started 34 times, including 29 at split end and five more at flanker. He finished with 144 receptions for 2,285 yards (15.9-yard average) and 21 touchdowns. He also recorded a pair of solo tackles.

Analysis

Strengths

Positives: Has a solid build with good upper-body muscle definition, long arms and legs, big thighs and calves, good bubble, tight skin and room to carry at least another 10 pounds of bulk without having the additional weight impact his foot speed...Big-time playmaker who is a threat to score every time he touches the ball and must be accounted for at all times...Tough receiver who isn't afraid to take a hit...Has very large, natural hands with decent deep speed (more quick than fast), as his long legs and running stride let him consistently eat up the cushion and get behind the defensive back...Has the outstanding ability to change direction in an instant, doing a good job of adjusting his body to off-target tosses...Combines good strength and burst to beat the jam and elude tacklers...Displays the natural ability to catch with his hands extended outside the frame...Aggressive cut blocker who won't back down and thrives when he gets the ball in pressure situations...Fights for the ball along the sideline, keeping his feet inbounds...Has super quickness off the snap and into his routes, showing good precision in his breaks...Might lack explosion, but he comes off the line with good power and finesse, as he stays under control through his patterns, running sharp, crisp routes and using his strength and size to bust through the jam...Can gain ground and separate in space...Shows no wasted movement, as he is effective at dropping his weight getting into his patterns, which is surprising to see as most tall receivers don't have the fluid hips or elusiveness that Kelly displays...Does a good job of reading coverage and adjusting in his routes, especially when working underneath...Has the ability to pull away from second-level defenders after the catch, using his strength to break arm tackles...Alert to pocket pressure, showing urgency working back to the ball...Solid short-area receiver that gets his head around quickly to locate the ball, remaining focused going for the ball in a crowd, as he knows how to use his frame to shield defenders...Plucks and secures the ball with ease and can take a hit and hold on to the ball working through traffic (knows how to use his height and long arms to his advantage)...Lacks suddenness in his initial step, but he has the quickness to separate, can fade into the open area and easily track the ball in flight...Even though he is a big target, he can bend, reach and jump for the ball while staying in control and maintaining his stride (has better ability to adjust in his intermediate and deep routes than in the short area)...Finds the ball in flight quickly and has the flexibility to adjust to it in the air...With his long arms and explosive leaping, he will win most jump balls...Shows elusiveness and strength after the catch, as he can either make the first defender miss or run through arm tackles...Good position blocker to seal off and shows proper hand placement to sustain blocks. Negatives: Lacks the short steps and quick feet, but does get good depth in his route progression with his long stride...Perhaps a product of the team's reliance on its ground game, he will disappear for long stretches...A good blocker, he is basically a non-factor without the ball in his hands...Will usually run crisp routes but he will glide out of his breaks, possibly because of the hip pointer he suffered vs. Oklahoma State...Keeps his head on a swivel to locate the ball, but is more effective as a receiver in the open field, as he does not show the same burst as smaller receivers when catching in the short area...Not really an explosive player, but does use his body lean and initial contact strike to create separation. Compares To: LARRY FITZGERALD-Arizona...Like Fitzgerald, Kelly takes advantage of his size and strength to break arm tackles rather than trying to get fancy with moves when trying to separate. Both have some of the best natural hands in the game, as Kelly was charted with only one dropped pass in the last two years. Perhaps due to the team's reliance on the running game, he will disappear for stretches on the field. But when he gets into that rhythm he will catch everything in site. Some teams might prefer Indiana's James Hardy, but Kelly is a more natural receiver and comes with no off-field baggage. Could be a perfect fit in Cincinnati with Carson Palmer if Cincinnati trades Chad Johnson.
C
Grade Title
9.00-10 Once-in-lifetime player
8.00-8.99 Perennial All-Pro
7.50-7.99 Future All-Pro
7.00-7.49 Pro Bowl-caliber player
6.50-6.99 Chance to become Pro Bowl-caliber player
6.00-6.49 Should become instant starter
5.50-5.99 Chance to become NFL starter
5.20-5.49 NFL backup or special teams potential
5.01-5.19 Better-than-average chance to make NFL roster
5.00 50-50 Chance to make NFL roster
4.75-4.99 Should be in an NFL training camp
4.50-4.74 Chance to be in an NFL training camp
No Grade Likely needs time in developmental league.
NFL News
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