Malcolm Kelly Struggles at Oklahoma Pro Day

Malcolm Kelly has been pinpointed by many to be drafted by the Bills at No. 11 overall. But after Oklahoma's Pro Day Wednesday, Buffalo's plans may have changed drastically.

In 16 days, the Buffalo Bills will have no more time to contemplate. The wide receiver-cornerback debate will officially reach a conclusion.

Right now, they're poking, prodding and analyzing every possible prospect for the No. 11 overall pick – looking for any reason to not draft someone.

Hence, it's not exactly the best time for one mock-draft darling to run a dud of 40-yard dash and then blame others for it. But that's what wide receiver Malcolm Kelly did Wednesday at Oklahoma's Pro Day. And he may have taken himself off of the Bills' hit list.

Kelly ran a 4.75 and a 4.68 in the 40-yard dash (his chief competition, Devin Thomas, clocked a 4.4 at the NFL Combine). Afterward, Kelly blamed the Sooners' strength staff, saying they didn't inform him in advance that the testing would be conducted on the Everest Indoor Training Center's FieldTurf. For the past month, Kelly had been practicing on the Mosier Center's AstroTurf.

According to The Oklahoman, scouts decided on Wednesday morning to conduct the pro day on FieldTurf, because it was more similar to a run at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Regardless, Kelly's performance in the pro day was a huge blow to his draft stock. With Bills offensive coordinator Turk Schonert and vice president of college scouting Tom Modrak in attendance (along with Cincinnati Bengals' personnel), the wide receiver only hurt his chances of being taken with the eleventh pick, even though the Bills were reportedly the first of many teams to set up a private meeting with Kelly in mid-March.

At the Combine he said as best attribute is "probably just being a deep threat, a down-the-field threat." That wasn't the case Wednesday.

"I had everything set up for where I wanted to (run) at," Kelly said. "I get up here this morning and it's a whole different deal. I was slipping all over the place during my drill work. I can't say I'm pleased with anything today."

The receiver had a late start compared to Thomas and company. A thigh injury forced him to start his pre-draft workouts just one month ago.

But even this has a dose of controversy. How Kelly addressed his thigh injury may have turned off potential buyers.

Kelly accused OU of "misdiagnosing" a thigh injury that kept him out of the Fiesta Bowl and most of his pre-draft training. He also said the coaching staff forced him to play through the injury earlier, per The Oklahoman article.

"They told me it was a thigh bruise and to try and play through it," Kelly said. "A deep thigh bruise hurts, you're in lot of pain, but it doesn't feel like someone is pulling at it or stabbing you in the leg. I tried to tell everybody it was worse than a thigh bruise. They told me it wasn't that bad, to go out there and run, that it was all in my mind. If I had gone out there in the bowl game and run full speed, where would I be? Nowhere. I'd be sitting at home right now rehabbing. Then people say, trust in what they say, they're not going to steer you wrong.

"If I had sat out from the time I messed it up, I would've been ready a week before the bowl game and could've played. It frustrates me a whole lot, the fact that I could've played and the fact that I knew it was something else and I was being told differently. I sat out the game. People were mad. But I wasn't going to injure myself or go out there and run half-speed and mess up the team."

Sooners' coach Bob Stoops was taken aback by Kelly's comments.

"I don't think that is fair," Stoops said. "A lot of deep tissue injuries take a while to figure out. Our doctors do as good a job as anybody in the country. Regardless of what his injury was, misdiagnosed or not, it was a deep tissue injury. He never played. It isn't like he played a game and re-hurt it. He would not have done anything different than he's done, which is rest it for a long period of time, which he did, and rehab it."

Stoops also doesn't know why Kelly feels he could've played in the Fiesta Bowl.

"He didn't do anything the whole time before we went to the Fiesta Bowl. He didn't practice once," Stoops said. "He didn't practice at the Fiesta Bowl, even though we tried to warm him up. It's not realistic for that injury to heal that fast."

Kelly somewhat salvaged his pro day in the vertical jump (32 inches), broad jump (9'9"), short shuttle (4.24) and three-cone drill (7.0) – all above-average numbers.

But after witnessing this bizarre twist of events/emotions firsthand, the Bills may have substantially dropped Kelly on their big board.

Kelly's production at Oklahoma (49 receptions, 821 yards and nine touchdowns last fall) matched with a NFL-ready frame (6-foot-4, 220 lb.) made him a natural at No. 11 for Buffalo, which desperately needs a big bodied receiver opposite of deep threat, Lee Evans. But if Kelly is so quick to point to finger after a poor 40-time, how will he react in the pros? The position of wide receiver naturally cultivates a Blame Game state of mind.

Ask Donovan McNabb.

Teams are no doubt looking for questionable attitudes – a radar particularly monitored at wide receiver. It may be the biggest nest of bad eggs in all of sports…the one position completely reliant on someone else – the quarterback – getting you the ball.

Scouts threw a knuckleball at Kelly he wasn't expecting. And he snapped. That may have been just as worse as running the same time, seven defensive linemen surpassed at the NFL Combine.

Tyler Dunne is the Publisher of the Buffalo Football Report. Contact him at

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