Alabama center Ryan Kelly was first Crimson Tide player taken in NFL draft

Indianapolis Colts looking for help in quarterback protection take Alabama’s Ryan Kelly

Ryan Kelly, 6-4, 311, was a three-year starter starter for the Crimson Tide. He left Alabama with a basketful of honors, including being selected team captain. He was a consensus All-America, winner of the Rimington Award as the nation’s best center, winner of the Jacobs Trophy as the best blocker in the Southeastern Conference, semifinalist for the Outland Trophy as the nation’s best interior lineman, and SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

Kelly was taken in the first round of the NFL draft, the 18th overall selection, by the Indianapolis Colts.

He did not allow a sack in Alabama’s 2015 national championship season, while handling the difficult duties of calling line blocks and snapping the ball to a quarterback who ordinarily was in spread formation.

Kelly had an impressive 88.4 per cent grade in blocking, and had five games above 90 per cent. He had 16 knockdown blocks.

In some 1,000 plays, Kelly was guilty of only one penalty and no holding calls.


First Round, No. 18 to Indianapolis ranked him the number one center available in the draft, but projected him as a second round selection. had this to say about Kelly:


“Barrel-chested big blocker who destroys defenders and blasts away for the ground game. He’s what NFL teams are looking for in terms of experience, power, and leadership – it’ll be his offensive line right away. He’s got a little bit of a strange, top-heavy body type, and he doesn’t really look like he can add anymore bulk to get up to 325. But as is, he’s the best center in the draft with perennial Pro Bowl talent.”


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