Oklahoma State Cowboys defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah (38) blocks a throw from Mississippi Rebels quarterback Chad Kelly (10) during the second quarter at the Allstate Sugar Bowl in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana, on January 1, 2016. File photo by Veronica Dominach/UPI | License Photo
As if his draft stock couldn't get any more unpredictable, Mississippi quarterback Chad Kelly exited school's Pro Day after only 12 throws on Monday after re-aggravating an injury to his throwing wrist.
The injury is considered a short-term issue and Kelly told teams he plans to throw again on April 22, less than a week prior to the 2017 NFL Draft.
Kelly, who is the nephew of Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Kelly, was expected to throw 35 to 45 passes for the 31 NFL teams represented on Monday during his scripted throwing session -- an abbreviated workout as he is only five months removed from ACL surgery.
For Kelly, it is just the latest setback in a career marred by bad luck and poor decisions. Since the start of his senior season, he tore the ACL in his right knee (for the second time), which ended his collegiate career and sidelined him for the Senior Bowl. He also found his name in the news for the wrong reasons, including storming a high school field in defense of his younger brother.
Kelly's Pro Day workout was also important because his invitation to the NFL Scouting Combine was rescinded due to the NFL's newly implemented policy that bars players with past violent offenses from attending.
In December 2014, Kelly pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct after he was kicked out of a Buffalo, N.Y., nightclub and told police, "I'm going to go to my car and get my AK-47 and spray this place" while he was resisting arrest. Kelly began his career at Clemson, but multiple run-ins with the coaching staff led to his dismissal there.
A two-year starter at Ole Miss, Kelly has arguably the best arm of any quarterback in this class with an ability to let loose and fire strikes all over the field. His gunslinger mentality and competitive drive are fun to watch, but streaky decision-making is problematic as he doesn't subscribe to the quarterback Hippocratic Oath (keep team from harm).
According to one NFL general manager, Kelly has a "Superman complex," which isn't the worst quality for a quarterback, but his next team will also bear the burden of the negative implications that come with that, including several past examples of immaturity that teams cannot ignore.
With the NFL physical traits, desired toughness and notable bloodlines, Kelly will receive his chance to play at the next level, but he will enter the NFL with a blinking "buyer beware" tag hanging from his neck and will be off several draft boards. He has a chance to hear his name called late in the draft, but might have to earn his way as an undrafted free agent.
Other notes from the Ole Miss pro day:
--It was an important workout for wide receiver Damore'ea Stringfellow, who also was banned from the Scouting Combine due to his checkered past. His 4.66 40-yard dash was below average for the position, but matches his tape so it wasn't a surprising number. However, he did impress while catching the ball and in the other drills with a broad jump of 10 feet, 10 inches and 17 reps on the bench press. At 6-foot-2 and 225 pounds, Stringfellow is a big-bodied possession target and considered a mid to late-round draft choice.
--Ole Miss produced three first-round picks in last year's draft, but are hoping for at least one this year. The prospect with the best chance is wide receiver/tight end Evan Engram, who stood on most of his Combine numbers but did participate in positional drills Monday. Building on a productive career for the Rebels, he was outstanding in Indianapolis with a 4.42 40-yard dash (at 233 pounds), adding a 36-inch vertical, 10-5 broad jump, and 6.92 three-cone. Engram's fit at the next level will vary depending on scheme, but his ability out of the slot might be his best position.
--Wide receiver Quincy Adeboyejo improved his vertical jump (37 inches) from the Combine (34 1/2) and looked outstanding running routes, according to several in attendance.
--A player who switched between corner and receiver over his time in Oxford, Derrick Jones showed off his athleticism with a 4.46 40-yard dash, 41-inch vertical leap and 11-foot broad jump. He is viewed as a priority free agent who a team can stash and develop.