Kyu Blu Kelly DRAFT PROFILE – 2023 NFL DRAFT
Kyu Blu Kelly NFL DRAFT SCOUTING REPORT INTRODUCTION
Kyu Blu Kelly, the Stanford cornerback (Bishop Gorman High School), is a former three-star recruit who has become a valuable asset to the team due to his athleticism and background in track and field. His success in high school, where he was a two-time state long jump champion and placed second in the 200-meter and third in the 100-meter dash, clearly contributes to his skills on the football field.
Blu Kelly comes from a family with a strong football background, as his father played for USC and spent 11 years in the NFL for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Detroit Lions. As a freshman, Blu Kelly quickly earned playing time and became the starter for the final nine games. He has remained a starter since and has gained valuable experience with over 1,250 coverage snaps in his career.
In his freshman year in 2019, Kelly was able to show his skills in 12 games, accumulating 692 snaps as a cornerback for the Cardinals. He demonstrated his ability to tackle, recording 34 tackles, 7 assists, and 6 stops. His coverage skills were also impressive, notching up 3 pass breakups, one interception, and limiting the QB rating when targeted to 90.6.
The following year, as a sophomore in 2020, Kelly played in just 5 games and logged 313 snaps for the Cardinals. While he made 17 tackles, 2 assists, and 5 stops, his coverage statistics were less impressive than his freshman year. He was only able to total one pass breakup, no interceptions, and his QB rating when targeted was disappointing at 134.1.
In 2021, Kelly returned as a junior and played in 11 games, making significant contributions to the team with 729 snaps. He recorded a solid 54 tackles, 5 assists, and added 16 stops. Kelly’s prowess in the secondary was evident, forcing 6 pass breakups, 2 interceptions, and giving up a decent QB rating when targeted of 87.8.
Finally, in his senior year in 2022, Kelly played in 10 games and played 601 snaps. He was able to log 32 tackles, 5 assists, and make 9 stops. In terms of coverage, Kelly had 3 pass breakups, no interceptions, and surrendered a QB rating when targeted of 98.6.
Kyu Blu Kelly DRAFT PROFILE
Blu Kelly is an impressive man-coverage corner who displays great confidence when aligned tightly to the line of scrimmage. He exhibits patience and decisiveness in press-man coverage, using his punches to disrupt the receiver’s timing effectively. His footwork is clean, allowing him to mirror receivers and stay attached once they enter their route stems. Additionally, his understanding of leverage and the coaching point of “take away something, to chase something” is exemplary.
Blu Kelly uses his pre-snap alignment to force receivers into his strengths, typically aligning with inside leverage and wanting to carry routes vertically due to his sprinter background. He is skilled at playing the upfield shoulder of the receiver and squeezing them to the sideline. His competitiveness at the catch point is impressive, as he positions himself well to attack the ball or play through the receiver’s hands. Moreover, Blu Kelly possesses good route instincts, allowing him to read and diagnose the receiver’s options. He is also a willing participant in run defense, using his abilities to squeeze and leverage the ball as a perimeter force defender. There are also redeeming reps for Blu Kelly using side-saddle or Cover 3 bail technique, indicating that he has the potential to operate in zone coverages if needed at the next level.
However, Blu Kelly does not exhibit the same level of confidence or comfort in off-coverage. His transitions are not as fluid, and his footwork and technique require improvement. He appears too antsy and anxious to protect his leverage and hips, resulting in some issues with eye discipline. This makes him vulnerable to double moves, which have been problematic for him when playing with a cushion. He struggled against USC receiver Jordan Addison, primarily from off-coverage, allowing the receiver to dictate pacing and manipulate leverage. These issues could limit his ability to play effectively in multiple schemes or coverage concepts if not addressed. Improving his tackling technique is also important for his run support.
Kyu Blu Kelly 40 YARD DASH- 4.52 SECONDS
SCOUTING REPORT- STRENGTHS
Kyu Blu Kelly, the standout cornerback, possesses excellent strength and is known for his high-energy and tough-minded playstyle. He is a natural overachiever who consistently delivers solid performances on the field.
His lateral movement is noteworthy, and he has a keen sense of reading the backfield in zone coverage. Kelly is a willing and capable hitter in run support, with the ability to close fast and make plays against quick screens.
His proficiency in press coverage is exceptional, featuring a powerful punch and the ability to reroute receivers. Kelly can effectively get up under a receiver’s chin and has the speed to flip his hips and run downfield. He possesses quick and surprisingly powerful hands, allowing him to jostle receivers early in the route. Despite this, Kelly is at his best when peeking into the backfield, reading the play and anticipating the next move.
Kelly’s straight-line speed is impressive, allowing him to recover in the event of a receiver getting separation. He has tremendous ball skills, with excellent hands and the potential to take the ball to the house whenever he gets his hands on it. His ability to track the ball downfield is exceptional, and he demonstrates impressive coordination and concentration when making interceptions, even when not frequently targeted.
SCOUTING REPORT- WEAKNESSES
Despite his impressive skills as a cornerback, Kyu Blu Kelly does have some areas in which he could improve his game. One of these areas is his tendency to gamble at the catch point, which can leave him susceptible to big plays. Additionally, he can be a victim of catch-and-run plays. In run support, Kelly is often too focused on attempting to strip the ball instead of making the tackle, leaving him reluctant to come up and make hits.
Another area in which Kelly could improve is his footwork. While he exhibits excellent technique in his backpedal, he can get sloppy at times and can be slow in transitioning to close on the ball. Furthermore, Kelly can struggle with route recognition when facing the action, which can make him hesitant and susceptible to double moves. In such situations, he often resorts to getting unnecessarily handsy when playing trail position, which can lead to penalties.
Despite these areas of improvement, Kelly remains a talented cornerback with a high ceiling. He possesses excellent instincts, speed, and ball skills, allowing him to make impressive interceptions and break up plays. With focused attention on refining his footwork and addressing his tendency to gamble, Kelly has the potential to become a lockdown cornerback who can excel in any coverage scheme.
Kyu Blu Kelly NFL DRAFT SUMMARY
Kyu Blu Kelly is a highly skilled cornerback with exceptional instincts, quick reflexes, and impressive ball skills. His willingness to contribute to run defense, along with his proficiency in press coverage, make him a valuable asset to any team. He possesses the necessary speed, technique, and awareness to be a highly effective cornerback at the next level.
Blu Kelly projects as an outside/field cornerback, although there is potential for him to move into the slot if the matchup requires it. He excels as a press-man-style corner, using his hands to get on the receiver and stay hip to hip. With the right development, there is potential for him to become a CB1 for a defense, and he could even become a shadow cornerback, following a wide receiver across formations. His physical tools/traits and coverage abilities make him a day one or two consideration for the draft.
- Straight line speed in good
- Great in press coverage, solid hand work at the line
- Big play instincts and ball skills
- Over aggressive, gambles on cutting off routes
- Inconsistent footwork
- Sometimes focuses on forcing a fumble and not on making the tackle