Why Aaron Kelly Could Be a Gem of a Find for the Atlanta Falcons

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Why Aaron Kelly Could Be a Gem of a Find for the Atlanta Falcons
(Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images)

The Falcons offense is not looking too shabby for the 2009 season. They have a Hall of Fame tight end in Tony Gonzalez, a big-time wide receiver in Roddy White, and one phenomenal runner in Michael Turner.

So, who the heck is Aaron Kelly, and why am I writing about him, right?

Well, Aaron Kelly is the recently acquired wide receiver signed by the Falcons after the draft.

That's right, he went undrafted—which could beg the question, how good could he possibly be?

Need I remind you that Pittsburgh Steelers running back Willie Parker went undrafted too? All he has done is help Pittsburgh win two Super Bowls in the last four years.

There are just as many steals to be found after the draft as there are during it, and I think that Aaron Kelly may very well be the heir apparent to Brian Finneran.

That may not seem like a good thing to some of you, but let me just say that, in 2002, when Finneran was healthy and played all 16 games, he was able to pull in 56 catches for 838 yards. Even in an injury-shortened 2005, he managed seven starts and 611 yards.

That's pretty handy for a guy who is not the No. 1 receiver and, may I add, was also an undrafted free agent.

Aaron Kelly is likely to be healthier and is similar in size to Finneran.

He stands at 6'5" and weighs 204 pounds, so he's a big guy. He's got a marvelous set of hands and has the ability to run and catch so naturally that you almost forget that he's not the quickest guy out there.

His combine numbers were not great, but he did manage to run a 4.53 forty and looked pretty stout running the gauntlet drill at the NFL combine.

He's got great body control both on the ground and in the air, which lends to his overall awareness of where he is on the field. He made a lot of catches at or near the sidelines while at Clemson and managed to keep both feet inbounds, despite having to make adjustments to the ball in the air.

He tracks the ball well and is focused both before and during the catch. His technique is polished and not labored.

He doesn't seem uncomfortable running routes either; as a matter of fact, he looks crisp and fluid when going through his assignments.

Further, his size will make him a legitimate red zone target for quarterback Matt Ryan if needed.

I like his upside a lot, and I see no reason why he can't push for some playing time this season, especially given the fact that he has some experience on special teams.

The Falcons did sign Troy Bergeron, former wideout for the Georgia Force, today. However, I don't really view him as much of a factor.

His role could be more as a special teams guy than anything, as he was a fierce return man when he played for the Force.

As of now, Kelly has performed well in camp, and I look for him to continue doing so.

In a year or two, when Finneran is likely gone, I see Kelly filling the role as a good possession receiver for the Falcons. He has all the tools despite what his combine numbers might tell you.

Plus, it looks to me like the Falcons want to get bigger in their receiving corps; they also signed Darren Mougey post-draft, and he stands at 6'6", leaving Eric Weems and Chandler Williams as the only guys under six feet on the Falcons' receiving corps.

It's obvious to me that the Falcons want bigger targets for their young quarterback.

Aaron Kelly, in my opinion, could be a possible sleeper at the wide receiver spot. Keep an eye out for this kid; he looks legit.

Here's a little video too, if you are interested, of his time at Clemson. He is currently not only their all-time receiver but the ACC's as well.

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