Ole Miss' Chad Kelly has plenty to offer an NFL club looking for help at quarterback -- pedigree (he's the nephew of Hall of Famer Jim Kelly), size (6-foot-2, 224 pounds), a rocket for a throwing arm as well as the athleticism to escape the pocket and pick up first downs as a rusher. But when Kelly revealed what his pitch to NFL teams would be if he was asked why they should draft him, his primary selling point was none of that.
Instead, it was his swag.
"I have it all. I might not have the same mojo as your basic quarterback, but I feel like I bring a different type of swag to the team and the players around me," Kelly told MMQB. "I have friends all across that field. When I go out there on the field, I play with a different attitude that you usually don't see in a quarterback. I play with a swag they've never seen before."
Kelly most definitely carries an air of on-field confidence, and his success backs that up. He passed for more than 4,000 yards as a junior last year, and already has logged 2,000 yards in seven games this season. He plays with passion, fearlessly throwing into tight windows for completions, and just as fearlessly taking on defenders when he tucks and runs. Sometimes, however, that willingness to throw into small windows is ill-advised.
NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks wrote that "evaluators will take issue with his spotty accuracy and questionable judgment in critical moments" in assigning Kelly a C grade for his performance in a loss at LSU on Saturday.
Scouting concerns about his off-the-field decision-making could have a negative impact on his draft status, too. From his dismissal from Clemson, to his arrest following a nightclub brawl in Buffalo nearly two years ago, to his most recent negative newsmaker, he'll face no shortage of scrutiny from NFL clubs wondering if he not only has the talent, but the face-of-franchise makeup as well.
In a few months, he'll be sitting for interviews with NFL teams, and the senior's answers to their questions, rehearsed or not, will need to resonate.
"Off the field. Can we trust you?," Kelly said, taking on the role of an imaginary general manager in his MMQB interview. His answer:
"I think you can. The decisions I made that resulted in bad things happening, I was thinking of other people and just trying to help other people before I thought of myself. Yeah, I took it upon myself to make decisions that, at the time, I thought were good ideas, but at the end of the day they only hurt me. Thinking of other people at that time, that's what got me in trouble. Now with social media and the media the way it is today, it's a totally different game than it was 30 years ago when my uncle played. You just gotta grow up."
The question next spring for NFL teams will be whether he's done enough of that.