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Kameron Kelly scouting report

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The 49ers need depth in the secondary, and the versatile San Diego State defensive back offers some intrigue.

NCAA Football: Boise State at San Diego State Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The signing of Richard Sherman helped solidify the cornerback position for the 49ers but there remains work to be done. Ahkello Witherspoon had a good 2017 and it has been reported that Jimmie Ward will see more time at corner starting this offseason.

Cornerbacks on the roster are as follows: Greg Mabin, Trovon Reed, Richard Sherman, Channing Stribling, Jimmie Ward, K’Waun Williams, and Ahkello Witherspoon. Depth is here but some things should be considered: Ward is entering the final year of his rookie contract, Richard Sherman has remained effective but is coming off an achilles injury and is getting up there in age, Williams is a serviceable and effective player to have in and out of the rotation, and the rest, well, are unproven.

Kameron Kelly is a name I hadn’t heard until recently but, after some look at his tape and reading what others had to say, I’m sold. I now accept the responsibility of convincing you, the reader, that he would be a nice fit for the red and gold.

Measurables

  • Height: 6’2”
  • Weight: 200 lbs
  • 40 yard dash: 4.66 seconds
  • Bench press: 9 reps
  • Vertical jump: 33.0”
  • Broad jump: 120.0”
  • 3 cone drill: 6.94 seconds
  • 20 yard shuttle: 4.28 seconds

Highlights

Kameron Kelly played safety initially, but transitioned to cornerback for his final season at San Diego State and held his own. Here are some highlights that showcase his talents on the defensive side of the ball.

Strengths

  • Has experience at safety and cornerback
  • Has long frame and runs well for size
  • Reacts very well to ball in flight and attacks catch like a receiver
  • Plays with aggression in run support
  • Opportunistic on deflections, overthrown, and under-thrown passes

Weaknesses

  • Still learning the cornerback spot, will need some time to grow
  • Average short area closing burst
  • Tendency of getting grabby at the top of routes
  • Needs to work on early recognition when it comes to seam throws and dig routes
  • Must work on flipping hips with more smoothness

It would take some time for Kelly to adjust to the speed of the NFL but that should not make teams shy away from him at all. He is versatile, has a long frame, and plays aggressively.

NCAA Football: Senior Bowl-South Practice
Jan 24, 2018; Mobile, AL, USA; South Squad tight end Ian Thomas of Indiana (80) is tackled after a catch by South Squad cornerback Kameron Kelly of San Diego State (27) during Senior Bowl practice at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook
Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Summary

Kameron Kelly was a do-it-all defensive back for the Aztecs this season, tallying up 67 tackles, five tackles for loss, two sacks, three interceptions and seven pass breakups. He has the size, athletic talents, and physical nature to be a solid playmaker in the NFL. Kelly also has the height, lankiness, and ball skills to carve out a role for him in the right scheme. Lance Zierlein over at NFL.com had this to add:

If he gets drafted to play corner, he will require patience as he lacks experience and movement skills to hold up against NFL route-runners. As a safety, teams like his range and ball skills to take it away and flip the field.

A credit to Kelly’s success has been his technique. He excels in nearly every aspect from his feet to his reads and everything in between. If you factor in his impressive ball skills, it is not hard to see why he is a big time playmaker. There is still room to grow - as there is with every draft prospect - but, early on, he may be able to flourish if he can play in the right scheme.

Would he be a good fit for San Francisco? I think so. He has the length and the ball skills and the potential to grow into an exceptional player with the help of Richard Sherman, who was brought into the fold to add experience to a youthful secondary. If the 49ers don’t address the cornerback spot early in the draft then Kelly could serve as a potential steal for an up-and-coming defense in San Francisco.

Draft projection: Round 3-4