2019 Season Countdown: #52 Jaylen Kelly-Powell

2019 Season Countdown: #52 Jaylen Kelly-Powell

July 12, 2019
Jaylen Kelly-Powell (image via Wolverines Wire)

Name: Jaylen Kelly-Powell
184 lbs.
High school:
Detroit (MI) Cass Tech
Defensive back
Jersey number:
Last year:
I ranked Kelly-Powell #47 and said he would be a backup nickel corner (LINK). He made 5 tackles.
TTB Rating:

So far in his career, Kelly-Powell is a man without a position. He has played cornerback, safety, and nickel during his first two years on campus, and reports haven’t been particularly glowing at any one spot. His 2018 season was disrupted by injury, and he was available for just seven games, during which he made 5 total tackles on special teams and as a backup safety.

This season Kelly-Powell is healthy once again, but the defensive back room is filling up with talent and time is running a little short for Kelly-Powell. Buzz this off-season has been about other guys, especially at safety. The one saving grace may be that Michigan’s depth at cornerback is not in a great place. Since Kelly-Powell has repped at corner in the past, he may be a “break glass in case of emergency” guy there, although he’s more likely to play the nickel corner position. This is a make-or-break year for Kelly-Powell, who might have just this one season to prove himself before the talented 2019 safety class gets acclimated to the college game.

Prediction: Backup defensive back


  1. Avatar
    Comments: 1819
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    Jul 12, 2019 at 11:39 AM

    I love me some Jim Harbaugh, and subscribe to his passion for “football players,” but we have a lot of attrition – in a time when transfers are higher than ever.
    How many guys are without a position? You scout them for a year, 2, or even 3 … make a decision and let the kid ‘bloom where planted’ already!

    • Thunder
      Comments: 3584
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Jul 12, 2019 at 11:44 AM

      I think this has always been the case. He’s probably taking a cue from Bo Schembechler (and others). Numerous good players have ended up as stalwarts at positions other than where they were recruited – Jay Riemersma, Jabrill Peppers, Desmond Howard, Prescott Burgess, etc. When you’re a skilled athlete, there are a lot of places you can slot into a team.

      • Avatar
        Comments: 1819
        Joined: 1/19/2016
        Jul 12, 2019 at 12:04 PM

        Sure, but I don’t recall third year players still looking for a home. And guys you mentioned were either really good or even exceptional, so there wasn’t really a wrong spot for them

        • Avatar
          Comments: 179
          Joined: 9/15/2015
          Jul 12, 2019 at 8:19 PM

          it happens…we just saw it with winovich who found his home at DE year 3

          • Avatar
            Comments: 1819
            Joined: 1/19/2016
            Jul 12, 2019 at 9:38 PM

            Very true, but isn’t winovich the exception not the norm (in many, many ways)

  2. Lanknows
    Comments: 5880
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Jul 12, 2019 at 1:00 PM

    JKP was always a bit of a ‘hybrid’ DB — small for safety but not possessing a corner’s athleticism or mentality either. Despite that the recruiting sites liked him and the coaches praised him. But they haven’t played him.

    Brown’s system seems to generally favor hybrid players who can cover receivers and tackle in space. So JKP’s lack of role is a bit surprising. I agree that it’s a make or break year.

    From what I’ve seen the “nickel corner” is generally the best corner or safety available off the bench. Usually this means all 3 rotating CBs are in, along with 2 safeties and viper. I haven’t noticed this being a unique position but I agree this is where JKP could fit best.

    He should get a chance this year to be in the regular rotation, with 3 DBs having moved out. My guess though is that Thomas/Gray/Levert will get the bulk of snaps at corner, barring injury, and that the staff will look for opportunities to get young safeties playing time too.

    • Avatar
      Comments: 54
      Joined: 10/3/2015
      Jul 12, 2019 at 5:43 PM

      Agree that his lack of playing time is slightly puzzling – based on his recruiting profile it seemed like he would be a great fit for what DB likes to do, but perhaps he’s in that tweener category – not sufficiently athletic to play corner, not enough physicality for safety.

You must belogged in to post a comment.