2013 NFL Draft – Scouting The Prospects: Travis Kelce


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.

Kelce 2Tale of the Tape:

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.

The Good

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.

The Bad

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.

  • http://toj mike

    I am college football nut, and follow the big east and big ten very closely. (unfortunately for me.) I agree 100% that whomever drafts Mr. Kelce will be very happy. It would be great for us to have a tight end in our offense that can actually block instead of going jumbo every time and telling the world what was coming next. One of the Jets many holes is tight end and I would mind seeing Travis in green and white. TOJ do you think he is a potential target for the Jets?

  • matr dontelli

    i like the analysis, however, and if we go this way i hope we are right, we have a developing tight end on our roster who has been described as uncoverable by the already dismissed gm (meaning he no longer has a horse in the race). i presume we’d need to take kelce by the 2nd or 3rd round. i’d hate to use that pick there if the guy we have is as uncoverable as MT suggests. i expect idzik will look long and hard at practice tapes of h.smith before using a 2nd or 3rd on this guy. and i expect idzik will make a good decision. i really like what i’ve seen from him so far

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  • http://toj mike

    Just a side note, we re-signed Folk. Good move.

  • KAsh

    I hope we can pick him up in the 3rd. We currently lack a decent blocking TE, but it is not a burning need like safety or OLB.

    Hayden Smith is developing, has outstanding height, build, and athleticism, and made it from no football experience to actually playing in a game in six months. His learning curve seems extraordinary. He might need another year, or he might fail to cross over (knock on wood). Anyway, our remaining TEs are subpar, so we should definitely draft a TE somewhere in the first four rounds.

    But I am optimistic because we willingly passed on Keller.

  • Dan

    Seems to me to top out at an Alge Crumpler level, which is nothing to sneeze at. And to have a Ben Hartsock type floor. I’d trade down in the third to get him, but that’s about the limit of it for me.

  • http://TOJ Zev Sibony

    Mike- I went to UC with Travis so I know how you feel. I feel he can be a very good blocking TE and definitely lets us not hear “63 is eligible” ever again. He SHOULD be a target for the Jets.

    Matr Dontelli and Kash- I think you are putting too much stock into Hayden Smith. Im ever the optimist but I think he is still an unknown and he shouldnt be expected to excel when given starting TE minutes already. He can be a great TE2 no doubt. But he has work to do. Furthermore, Tannenbaum’s talent evaluation is dog crap. He gave Rex players like Clyde Gates and Ellis Lankster and said they were good. So I dont care about his testimony on Smith. Idzik on the other hand will probably say what I just said. Smith isnt ready yet.

    Kash again- TE is DEFINITELY a glaring need. Just as bad as OLB and Safety. TEs are security blankets for QBs. Jets will likely have a new QB next year, he will need a good solid TE to throw to.

    Dan-I believe Kelce will be gone in the top of the third, Ive seen places that have had him going at the bottom of the second. Trading down in the 3rd is unrealistic. He wont be there. And his floor is much higher than Ben Hartstock. His blocking ability is already pretty good, and so is his playmaking ability, which Hartstock’s wasnt.

  • http://TOJ Zev Sibony

    Kash- By next year, I mean 14-15 season. That is when theyll have a new rookie QB. For next season (13-14) IMO Garrard will take Sanchez’s job in camp but ultimately not be able to stay healthy enough so Sanchez starts again. UNLESS. The Jets find a way to draft my favorite QB of this class, EJ Manuel, And I am a firm believer in EJ Manuel.