No quarterback in the 2022 NFL Draft astonishes like Trevor Lawrence, or even Justin Fields and Trey Lance for that matter. If the New Orleans Saints want to wait to find a prospect in later rounds, they could select homegrown star Cole Kelley.
No guarantees are provided with quarterbacks at the end of the round. Some, like Tom Brady, turn out to be rough diamonds in the rough, while others, like Ian Book, are made entirely of industrial brass, and their glow slowly fades with the seasons.
South East prospect Cole Kelly could very well become an Ian Book type within a year, but there is a lot of intrigue in his profile project that makes him a valid consideration.
After six years and two schools, Kelley has finally reached the podium and is one of 15 quarterbacks competing in the NFL Combine.
Born in Lafayette, Louisiana, Kelley played football at Teurlings Catholic High School and later joined the Arkansas Razorbacks in the Southeastern Conference. A redshirt as a freshman, he played two decent seasons there before deciding to transfer closer to home in southeast Louisiana.
Currently in his third season at Southeastern, Kelley has emerged as an impressive quarterback with the physical traits to succeed at the NFL level.
New Orleans Saints set to keep tabs on Southeast Cole Kelley in 2022 draft
At 24, Kelley’s age will be seen as a detriment to QB-needy teams, but a perhaps more favorable number is his height. His 6-foot-7 frame makes him taller than most, and despite his impending size, he’s retained the skills and coordination to rival the best.
In his final season at Southeastern, Kelley threw for 5,124 yards and 44 touchdowns in 13 games with an average completion rate of 73.6 passes. Kelley also showed his double-threat potential as a rusher, adding 491 rushing yards and 16 rushing touchdowns that year. He led the FCS in passing yards, total offense and completion percentage, and set a new record with his career completion percentage (72.1%).
Kelley’s journey to the NFL Draft may have been longer than others, but his physical ability and football acumen could come in handy if cared for in the right system. Hopefully NOLA’s offense will feature Jameis Winston under center for 2022, and in truth Kelley would spend more time warming up the bench than throwing the ball for the first two seasons.
Still, the numbers are at least there, and Kelley’s ability to persevere is perhaps the most important quality of all for young NFL quarterback prospects.
Plus, Kelley even has a tattoo dedicated to her hometown of Lafayette. The tough New Orleans spirit coursing through his veins could see him play for the black-and-gold in a few years of patience.