Alabama Team News

Is Alabama’s Ryan Kelly a first-round NFL draft pick?

Ryan Kelly

NFL mock drafts are full of former SEC players. One not projected to go in the first round is Alabama center Ryan Kelly.

Kelly might end up making those “mock drafters” look bad.

“I’ll tell you who’s going in the first round who people don’t have in the first round is the center from Alabama, Ryan Kelly,” CBSSports.com NFL reporter Pete Prisco told 1010XL Jax Sports Radio. “He is going in the first round. I’ve talked to too many people about him and I would be astounded if he didn’t go in the first round. Arizona needs a center. Indianapolis needs a center.”

The Colts pick 18th, the Cardinals 29th. The possibility of Kelly to Arizona has been picking up momentum.

Kelly was a three-year starter at Alabama and won the Rimington Trophy, given annually to the nation’s top center, last season. Kelly (6 feet 5, 297 pounds) also earned the SEC’s Jacobs Blocking Trophy, given to the league’s top offensive lineman. He was a consensus first-team All-American, the SEC Scholar Athlete of the Year and chosen as a permanent team captain in 2015.

RELATED: GN draft decisions on Kelly

The last center to be selected in the first round of the NFL xraft was Wisconsin’s Travis Frederick, who was selected 31st overall by the Dallas Cowboys in 2013.

At the College Football Awards Show in December, Alabama running back Derrick Henry called Kelly “a great leader, and the heart and soul of the offense.”

RELATED: Could Derrick Henry be a first-round pick?

Alabama coaches say Kelly did not surrender a single sack during his senior year, committed just one penalty in 1,012 snaps and missed only eight assignments on those plays.

Kelly, from the Cincinnati suburbs, was a four-star prospect out of high school, and selected the Tide over offers from Florida, Florida State, Tennessee and Michigan, among others.

(You can follow Chadd Scott on Twitter @ChaddScott)

(Feature photo by SHANNA LOCKWOOD/USA TODAY SPORTS)

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