As we inch closer to this year’s NFL Draft next month, our draft team here at Turn On The Jets will be running a series of individual prospect evaluations. These scouting reports are intended to provide an in-depth breakdown of individual prospects in this year’s draft class highlighting players’ overall strengths, weaknesses, potential upside, red flags, and what their best schematic fit will be at the next level. Here we break down Cincinnati Tight End, Travis Kelce.
Prospect: Travis Kelce
Position: Tight End
College: University of Cincinnati
Measurements: 6’ 5” 255 lbs, 33 ¾” arms, 9 5/8” hands
Travis Kelce is rated by most as the 3rd best Tight End in this year’s draft class. However, after Notre Dame’s Tyler Eiffert, I believe Kelce is superior to all of his counterparts. There was little hype about him during 2012 because of the rise of both over Eiffert and Stanford’s Zach Ertz, but after watching film on each of the three, it becomes hard to argue with how Kelce truly is.
Year by year, Kelce improved at Cincinnati. In his redshirt freshman year he played in 11 games at Tight End, used primarily as a blocker, while also contributing as a Wildcat quarterback in some instances. After being suspended for his entire sophomore season, Kelce returned his junior year and caught 13 passes for 150 yards and 2 touchdowns. His senior year was the year where he separated himself from the other Tight Ends in the Big East and eventually the country. He accumulated 722 yards, which is a school record for a Tight End, and 8 touchdowns while gaining all Big East First Team honors.
Travis Kelce has an excellent frame for himself at 6-05 and 255 lbs. The most impressive part of his game is that he is an excellent blocker. He engages his man and he drives his feet clearing way for the ball carrier.
While he was used more in the passing game at Cincinnati in his senior year, he showed he has the hands and flexibility to set his feet and properly protect the passer if need be.
Kelce also has an impressive “ mean streak,” as he plays with tremendous aggressiveness and tenacity. His film reveals the pleasure he takes in playing with physicality as a blocker.
In the passing game, Kelce is extremely versatile. He can line up at the Line of Scrimmage and get a good release to run his route, he can line up as an H-Back in motion and make a play out of the backfield, and he can line up in the slot. Kelce is not afraid to take a hit over the middle to make a catch with his strong hands and is also very good at guarding his body to prevent injury. While he isn’t “fast” by any means, he is quick and can get some YAC due to how difficult he makes it for defenders to bring him down. The window of where Kelce can catch the ball is huge, and he adjusts really well. He is a giant target for quarterbacks, and will provide a nice security blanket at the next level.
While there are some questions about his season long suspension his sophomore year,he has seemingly matured greatly over his years at Cincinnati. That doesn’t speak negatively about his coach-ability or his effort, but It was more of a speed bump during his growth.
Kelce has only one real season of production, but he did so with a bang. While he is not a tremendous athlete like a Jimmy Graham, he is athletic in his own right. He can also use some work on his route running, which isn’t poor by any means – He just needs to work on getting out of his breaks.
Travis Kelce can translate really well to the NFL. With his tenacious blocking, playmaking ability, and versatility he can be a highly successful tight end at the next level. A team will likely use a pick on him, late 2nd– early 3rd, and be happy with the results.