As fans watched New Orleans Saints RB Alvin Kamara tear up the NFL this year, winning the Offensive Rookie of the Year award, it was fair to wonder why Tennessee didn’t see his potential.
We could be saying the same thing about John Kelly, who is leaving the Vols a year early to pursue an NFL career.
After a hot start to the season, Kelly fell off the map, thanks in part to a suspension, but also thanks to the Vols not giving him the ball. Recently, scout Chris Landry said Kelly could be an NFL sleeper, blasting the way the Vols used him in 2017:
Kelly doesn’t have the talent of an Alvin Kamara, but like several other Tennessee running backs before him, he has a chance to be a better pro than he was in college. Kelly is an explosive playmaker who was criminally underused by the Vols, and his versatile skill set still allowed him to tally over 1,000 total yards and nine touchdowns in 2017. He currently projects as a late Day 3 selection, but a strong pro day and showing at the combine could see that stock rise.
Butch Jones has been fired, and his coaching staff is out too. As we enter the 2018 season, it’ll be up to new coach Jeremy Pruitt to make sure the team is actually using its top backs.
Meanwhile, Kelly will try to follow in Kamara’s footsteps and prove the Vols misused him.