The Los Angeles Rams had a handful of sixth-round picks in the 2018 NFL Draft which typically means that the organization will have plenty of dudes fighting to make the 53-man roster or at best make a case to be a key part of the depth at a given position. But a star player that fans salivate over during the preseason? Out of the sixth round?
RB John Kelly is in a unique situation since he was looked at by some as a third-round talent that fell deep into Day 3. Even more strangely, Head Coach Sean McVay elected to keep his starting offense on the bench for all four preseason games allowing the spotlight to shine elsewhere. And guess what? The lights gravitated to Kelly who has a running style not too dissimilar than Gurley. Kelly has those Madden-style spin moves that are super fun to watch.
Yes, this was against the 3’s in a preseason game, I hear you. But still...
So that being said, is Kelly is our RB2 now? Should we all draft Kelly on our fantasy team in case Gurley gets hurt or has a slow start to the season?
I still feel that the Rams will keep Kelly in a very limited role this season, maybe 3-5 snaps a game. Maybe that means RB Malcolm Brown will get less touches. This is all conjecture of course. Only McVay and maybe his girlfriend knows what he plans on doing with the regular season offense.
What I’d like to see is more touches for Kelly because I’m not a huge fan of the #1 back getting too many touches, especially when Gurley gets so many pass targets from QB Jared Goff.
What makes Brown valuable to the team is that he provides strong pass protection and is more of a classic change-of-pace ball carrier. Blocking seems to be what Kelly needs to work on the most, so it’s asking a lot to just assume that he’s Gurley 2.0. TST’s own Brandon Bate also has some thoughts about this:
That said, would it surprise you to know that Malcolm Brown played on 150 offensive snaps last year (14.4%)? Easy math tells you that's less than 10 snaps per game.— Brandon Bate (@NoPlanB_) August 26, 2018
Would it make matters worse to know that 41 of those snaps came in Week 17 when Gurley was a healthy scratch?
So, what does this all mean?
Well when a team elects to keep their offensive starters off the field, fans can get a little frothy-at-the-mouth. Truth is: we don’t know what this team is going to look like until Monday Night Football against the Oakland Raiders. Gurley is the man. That we know. However, if things go sideways with him, it’s nice to know that RB John Kelly and RB Justin Davis are ready to rip if their services are needed. It ain’t gonna pretty, but it’s going to be fast.
As good as Brown is, I’m not certain he’s a lead running back. Is John Kelly? Well, he ran like it in the preseason. Though it seems unlikely, I would like to see Kelly get around 15 touches during the season which could help Gurley stay fresh going into the playoffs (yeah, I said it, get off my back.)
Ok, I’m going to slow my roll and hope nothing back happens to Todd Gurley II this year.