With the 2018 NFL Draft on the horizon, there’s one position class that is loaded with talent. The Running Backs. Headlined with names like Saquon Barkley, Derrius Guice, Nick Chubb, Sony Michel & more. But there’s a beast of a player that little to nobody is talking about. Tennessee’s John Kelly.

We all know how Tennessee turned out this year, but believe it or not Tennessee was ranked for a few weeks during this season. All because of one player that seemingly put the team on his back. John Kelly. He started out the year on fire & was practically the one who won 3 of the Vols 4 wins this year.

Week 1 against Georgia Tech, he ran for 128 yards and scored 4 TD’s, leading the Vols to a double OT thriller victory.

Week 3 in a losing effort to Florida, Kelly played his best game of the season seemingly dominating one of the SEC’s best defenses in Florida. He carried the ball 19 times for 141 yards and a touchdown. He also recorded 6 receptions for 96 yards. He was literally the only reason the Tennessee Vols were even competitive in that game.

Week 4 in a win against UMass, he recorded himself another 100+ yard rushing performance.

After that though, the season didn’t go well for the Vols. After all, Kelly could only have the team on his back for so long before crashing and burning against their brutal SEC schedule.

So why I am I so high on this John Kelly guy if he didn’t lead his team to a successful year or even have that great of a year? As Luke Skywalker once said “I’ve seen this raw strength only once before (Dalvin Cook). It didn’t scare me enough then. It does now (John Kelly).”

The few great performances Kelly had, were enough to sell me on this kid. His strength, speed, and overall build are unreal. His play style reminds me so much of FSU’s Dalvin Cook. Kelly plays with an anger and passion that isn’t found in most running backs nowadays. Unlike Cook, Kelly wasn’t surrounded by a top 10 team and I think that is another reason why Kelly is overlooked. Seeing him against Florida alone had me sold. This guy is going to thrive in the NFL.

This is one of those players that you just have to actually witness play to really grasp on to the idea of him being a success. Nonetheless, I personally feel like John Kelly is the best-hidden gem in the 2018 NFL Draft.

– Collin Borron (Founder & Owner of The Gridiron Express)

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