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Chad Kelly receives seventh-round draft projection post-injury

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Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly's college career has come to a close thanks to a knee injury that will require season-ending surgery this week.

What does it mean for the senior's draft stock?

NFL.com analyst Daniel Jeremiah doesn't foresee Kelly, whose most favorable projections had him as a mid-round pick prior to the injury, going any earlier than the 2017 draft's final round.

"This is really tough luck for Chad Kelly. He wasn't having a banner season but I thought he could've helped himself with a solid performance in a postseason all-star game," Jeremiah said. "I think his draft stock was mid-to-late round prior to this week, but I'll be surprised if he's anything other than a seventh-round pick after this unfortunate injury. Every NFL evaluator I've talked to viewed him as a backup at the next level. That was prior to this injury."

Kelly, the nephew of former Buffalo Bills star QB Jim Kelly, tore his ACL and lateral meniscus in a 37-27 win over Georgia Southern on Saturday. While that cost him a few more games for the Rebels, it's not as though NFL scouts won't have a foundation of game film to review of Kelly. He made 22 starts and nearly 800 pass attempts in two seasons at Ole Miss. Despite his obvious size, talent and athleticism, however, his on-field decision making has come into question.

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As Jeremiah pointed out, however, Kelly's injury has ramifications beyond Ole Miss' season. It also figures to cost him the chance to impress scouts in workouts during draft season. He had been named one of seven Rebels to the Reese's Senior Bowl watch list, which will be played Jan. 28. About a month later, which will be only about 15 weeks post-injury for Kelly, the NFL Scouting Combine will commence in Indianapolis.

While Kelly might not be ready to throw for NFL scouts at the combine, he'll certainly need to impress them in the interview process. He'll be asked extensively about disciplinary issues ranging from his dismissal from Clemson to an arrest in Buffalo in the days after he signed with the Rebels.

Not surprisingly, he's already given some thought to his answers.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.

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