Doubling up on the Lions’ top need with the final pick of this mock.
Kelly became a starter during his freshman season at Stanford, and he stayed a starter the rest of his career in Palo Alto. Over 1,250 coverage snaps in college stands out, and NFL bloodlines (father Brian played 11 NFL seasons, including one for the Lions ) will benefit him. He looks the part of an NFL cornerback, at 6-foot-1 and 186 pounds.
Kelly’s tackling needs work, if only from a functional strength perspective to finish plays better and shed blocks. Scouting reports broadly say a lack of fluid movement skills yielded struggles in off-coverage. But he is well-regarded as a man coverage guy, particularly man-press where he can use physicality early in the process and a lack of long speed isn’t easily exposed right away. That makes him a fit for the Lions and Aaron Glenn’s defensive scheme, with the perceived potential to develop into someone who can be used outside and in the slot.
More interceptions would have been nice to see (two in 2021, zero in 2022). But Kelly had 17 pass breakups over his final two college seasons, along with 93 total tackles over that span. Plenty of playing experience as he heads to the next level, solid ball production and areas to work on where he has upside potential which can be tapped, made Kelly the pick here in the third round.