Name: Jaylen Kelly-Powell
Weight: 173 lbs.
High school: Detroit (MI) Cass Tech
Jersey number: #16
Last year: I ranked Kelly-Powell #66 and said he would be a backup safety and special teamer (LINK). He made 2 tackles.
TTB Rating: 77
Kelly-Powell was a freshman last season with an undefined position. Was he a safety, a cornerback, or a nickel? Michigan tried him everywhere in the defensive backfield to see where he fit best. Ultimately, they decided he probably had the best chance of contributing at the nickel corner position. He’s one of those tweeners who doesn’t have the speed/athleticism to be great at corner, and he’s not physical enough – at least not yet – to be a safety.
This year not much has changed in the defensive backfield, except Utah transfer Casey Hughes has entered the fold as a potential contributor at safety or nickel. Spring reports were positive about Kelly-Powell, though, and some observers said he looked excellent. I’m skeptical of spring practice reports without seeing evidence of it myself, but there were some who said Kelly-Powell will force his way onto the field somewhere. The problem is it’s a loaded defensive backfield, and there aren’t enough positions to get all the good players on the field. The four starters (David Long, Lavert Hill, Tyree Kinnel, Josh Metellus) all return, along with highly touted corner Ambry Thomas and experienced veteran Brandon Watson. Then you have Hughes, big-hitting J’Marick Woods, and a whole cadre of freshmen.
Prediction: Backup nickel corner
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