Malcolm Kelly returned to practice this morning. Malcolm Kelly this afternoon reinjured the hamstring that kept him out of the entire Washington Redskins training camp. As they said in that old song, if it weren’t for bad luck, Kelly would have no luck at all.
By all accounts, Kelly is a decent enough fellow. A story in Monday’s Redskins Insider described Kelly as having the best hands on the team as far as wide receivers go. That may go a long way to explain why the Shanahans are so interested in giving the man a shot to make the team. The need for good hands is so great.
Kelly and Devin Thomas were two of the first three players selected by the Redskins in the 2008 NFL Draft. To fans, they feel like first rounders, but they were second-rounders in a draft class team scouts thought was devoid of first round receiver talent. Kelly ought to be evaluated on that basis.
And on that basis, Kelly isn’t the worst performer among his second round peers. That honor goes to Cincinnati’s Jerome Simpson (1 Rec, 2 Yds, 0 TDs). In two seasons, Kelly isn’t near the performance we hoped. St. Louis’ Donnie Avery was selected immediately ahead of Thomas. In two seasons Avery has 100 receptions for 1263 yards and eight touchdowns. DeSean Jackson was selected by Philadelphia immediately ahead of Kelly. Jackson has 125 receptions for 2079 yards and 11 touchdowns. Kelly has 28 receptions for 365 yards and no touchdowns.
That Kelly is still here says there’s something about him we fans don’t see. Hog Heaven’s Greg Trippiedi says Kelly is a good downfield blocker. Perhaps he has a deep understanding of the new playbook, or is an inspiring locker room leader. But please don’t tell me the coaches are keeping Kelly around because he catches well in practice.
There are two words to describe players who practice well but can’t get id done in games: “Taylor” “Jacobs.”
The Redskins drafted Jacobs in 2003–ironically in the second round–to fuel Steve Spurrier’s “Fun ‘n’ Gun” offense. Jacobs failed to launch thought both Spurrier and Joe Gibbs said he had an awesome pair of hands in practice. In three seasons with Washington, Jacobs caught 30 passes for 315 yards and one touchdown.
Gibbs went looking for receiver help because of Jacobs. Unfortunately, he found Brandon Lloyd. Jacobs would be traded to San Francisco for Mike Rumph.
Kelly is no Taylor Jacobs. He has to write the end to his own story. That doesn’t mean we have to watch. There comes a time to say ‘it is what it is.”
Malcolm Kelly isn’t rugged enough for the NFL.