Oakland Raiders DT Tommy Kelly Finally Paying Off with a Pro Bowl-Caliber Season

big ROC Stockton, CAAnalyst IIIDecember 21, 2010

HOUSTON - OCTOBER 04:  Defensive end Tommy Kelly #93 of the Oakland Raiders at Reliant Stadium on October 4, 2009 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

When Al Davis gave Tommy Kelly a $55 million contract everyone thought he was throwing away his money.  Although he had tons of potential he was coming off a season-ending knee injury and most believed he could have been signed for a lot less than what he got from the boss.  The reality of the situation was that the Denver Broncos were ready to offer Kelly a big contract once he hit the open market.  Al Davis kept his guy and he now is paying off with a great season. 

Tommy Kelly got a lot of grief from the media and even a lot of Raiders fans.  The people that really don't "know" football don't see what he brings to the table.  In the last few seasons he has been playing very well but since he didn't have the sacks to go with it he wasn't viewed as one of the best interior linemen in the NFL.  He also never had a running mate next to him at DT.  Gerard Warren was a decent player but not what we needed.  Warren Sapp was alright but he was just a short-term solution.

Tommy Kelly now has All-Pro Richard Seymour next to him.  These two guys feed off each other and both are having great years.  Having Seymour next to him he doesn't have to take on a double-team all the time anymore.  This gives him the opportunity to make plays and he is paying off.  He also has playmakers like Matt Shaughnessy, Kamerion Wimbley and Rolando McClain feeding off his solid play.

Kelly is proving his critics wrong this year without a doubt.  So far with two games to go he has 52 tackles and seven sacks.  Only rookie phenom Ndamukong Suh has more sacks with eight amongst interior defensive linemen.  His 52 tackles are good for fifth.

Over the years he has been overlooked because the Raiders have been so bad against the run and a bad team in general.  The Raiders have become somewhat relevant once again so Tommy Kelly should get some recognition around the league.  He is dominating his man on pretty much every down.  When he wants to "go" he is unstoppable. 

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Well that's it for now.  I wrote an article on Marcel Reece deserving the Pro Bowl and it got a lot of responses so I wanted to see what you all think about Tommy Kelly.

What do you think?  Does Tommy Kelly deserve to make the Pro Bowl?

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