Travis Kelce – Cincinnati
Age when drafted: 23
Hometown: Cleveland Heights, OH
Collegiate Number: 18
Combine notables: Didn’t workout at Combine
Games Viewed: 2012 – Syracuse, USF, Connecticut, Duke
Travis Kelce was a three-year letterwinner at Cleveland Heights High School at quarterback. Kelce was two-star recruit that had offers from Cincinnati, Eastern Michigan, Akron, and Miami (OH). His brother, Jason, is a center for the Philadelphia Eagles.
He redshirted in 2008. Played 11 games as redshirt freshman in 2009 as a wildcat quarterback and tight end. Cincinnati coach Butch Jones suspended Kelce for the 2010 season due to a violation of team rules. After his suspension, Kelce recorded 13 receptions for 150 yards and 2 TD’s in 2011. Kelce burst onto the national scene as a senior when he grabbed 45 receptions for 722 yards and 8 TD’s.
At nearly 6-foot-5 and 255 pounds, Kelce has very solid size for the position. He has a large catching radius with 33 ¾” arms. Kelce doesn’t have explosive speed but his smooth, long-strider that possesses good overall athleticism for a player his size.
Kelce has very good strength as an in-line blocker. His powerful lower half make him a force as a blocker. In addition to strength as a blocker, Kelce is a force in the open field with the ability to break tackles.
Rarely saw Kelce double catch or drop a ball. The sample size is very small but he’s shown an ability to catch the ball in traffic and can go up and get it. Does an excellent job of catching the ball with his eyes as you rarely see a lapse in concentration.
Kelce’s experience shows as a former quarterback shows up in his route running. Kelce finds the soft spot in the defense and knows when to sit down or run through traffic. He doesn’t possess great agility which causes him to have to throttle down in and out of breaks or round them off.
YARDS AFTER CATCH:
Despite average agility, Kelce can make guys miss in the open field. Would like to see Kelce translate his tenacity as a blocker into his ability with the ball in his hands. There are times that Kelce could have and should have run through a tackler to gain extra yardage but opted to try to make them miss. His lower body power and mass make him a tough matchup for safeties in the open field but needs to take advantage of those traits more often.
He’s a rarity in today’s game. With so many TE’s specializing as pass catchers or blockers, Kelce brings both facets to the table. Outside of Alabama’s Michael Williams, Kelce may be the top in-line blocker in this draft class. Kelce shows solid knowledge of leverage principles and is like having another tackle in the game on run downs. Cincinnati used him as an H-back and he showed the ability to block in space as well as he does in-line. Kelce’s prowess as a blocker could get him drafted higher than expected.
While the details of Kelce’s suspension weren’t released, it was severe enough to warrant a one-year suspension from the program. Kelce will have to answer to his indiscretions to teams in a deep TE class which could be what ultimately leads to him falling into round three of the draft.
Today’s game is so much about versatility that Kelce will be a hot commodity in April, despite character questions that led to a one-year suspension from the UC program. He can line up in-line as a Y, split out as an F, and as an H-back in the backfield. Kelce’s combination of receiving ability and blocking is rare in today’s TE’s as many are specializing in one area or the other. Kelce should come off the board in round two but if teams are concerned about his suspension under Butch Jones, his floor is in the third round.
POSSIBLE LANDING SPOTS: New York Jets, Buffalo Bills, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Washington Redskins, Cleveland Browns