The Seattle Seahawks were able to make an unexpected pickup last week when the Baltimore Ravens waived 2023 fifth-round pick Kyu Blu Kelly. The former Stanford cornerback was waived by the Ravens with the hopes he’d make it through waivers to be placed on the practice squad, but Seattle was savvy enough to scoop him up. Kelly received draft grades around the 100 range by multiple people including Jim Nagy. However, a below average 40-yard dash time of 4.52 saw him fall down to the fifth round. But what Kelly lacks in speed he makes up for with multiple strong traits, which we will review below.
New Ravens CB Kyu Blu Kelly against Jordan Addison this past season in man pic.twitter.com/x74trlHXVG— RAMEY (@HoodieRamey) April 29, 2023
Kyu Blu Kelly does not shy away from contactpic.twitter.com/N0mvRwd3Az— Kevin Oestreicher (@koestreicher34) April 29, 2023
Blu Kelly is an extremely physical cornerback in all essence of the word. In the passing game he is constantly in press coverage and getting his hands on the receiver immediately off of the snap. He maintains this physicality throughout the course of the route as he hand-fights with the receiver as they work down the field. At the stem he also tries to reduce the amount of separation created by getting his hands on them. A defensive back with this style of play always runs the risk of picking up multiple defensive pass interference penalties a season. In Kelly’s case he is more handsy than grabby so this is not a major concern.
In the first video Kelly is going up against Jordan Addison who in my opinion had the best release of any drafted receiver this season and he more than holds his own. He is able to get physical with Addison at the line, get his hips around and stay in phase wherever the route is run. In addition to that Kelly also is able to showcase some power in his hands as he throws the timing of Addison’s release off a few times.
In the run game Kelly also shows off his physicality as he is more than willing to mix it up with an offensive lineman. It does not matter if he has to try and chop one down, which we see in the second video or attempt to stack and shed them. If the ball is being run to his side then he is going to get involved in one way or another.
Most important tackle in Ravens preseason history by Kyu Blu Kelly? pic.twitter.com/HlpsaTfMni— Steve Palazzolo (@PFF_Steve) August 22, 2023
Kyu Blu Kelly plays with such physicality— Kevin Oestreicher (@koestreicher34) April 29, 2023
He fits what the Ravens look for at cornerback pic.twitter.com/A2UgArePv5
Naturally, Kelly’s physical nature against the pass and run translates to his approach as a tackler. There are some secondary players who just throw their shoulder at the shins of ball carries which results in multiple missed tackles, especially on the edge. The newest Seahawk is not one of those players as he aims for thighs/midsection and follows through the hit. Having a player of this nature is extremely beneficial for a Seahawks team that is facing multiple run heavy teams this year including the San Francisco 49ers, Carolina Panthers, Arizona Cardinals, and others.
Getting Kelly on a fifth-round contract for the next four years for free was a fantastic move by John Schneider and co. Even if he becomes a special teamer over the next few years it is a transaction that would be considered a win. I do not think Kelly is going to be anymore than a fourth corner for this team, but they do not need him to be anything more for them. There are some Devon Witherspoon-like tendencies in his game, mainly through his physicality and I always think it is a savvy move when teams have backups who have similar traits to their starters.