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2023 NFL Draft

Kyu Blu Kelly Following in Father’s Footsteps, Will He Also Play for Mike Tomlin?



Stanford CB Kyu Blu Kelly

MOBILE, Ala. — It was Kyu Blu Kelly’s mom that gave him his unique first name — it rhymes with bayou — but it’s his dad, former NFL cornerback Brian Kelly, that a lot of people at the 2023 Senior Bowl want to talk about.

The older Kelly spent 11 seasons in the NFL from 1998-2007, most of the with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He won a Super Bowl with Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin as his position coach after the 2002 season — the year he led the NFL in interceptions.

The younger Kelly just finished four seasons at Stanford, where he was a two-time All-Pac 12 cornerback.

Kyu Blu is two inches taller than his father, and plays somewhat of a different game than his father did, but that doesn’t stop people from making comparisons.

“Some of his old friends always say, ‘Man, you look like BK out there,’” Kyu Blu said this week. He’s not so sure. “I’m like, ‘nah,’ but it’s cool just to hear them say that and to have that idol. …

“I feel like I’m a little taller, a little faster, he was very technical, though. I look at his tape and try to take everything I can from it. I think we play the game a little differently.”

The one that that’s for sure is that Kelly has an advantage in the NFL Draft process by having someone he can lean on that’s been through it before.

“It’s a blessing just to have a guy like that in my corner,” Kelly said. “Some of the insight, some of the stuff that he knows is some of the stuff that I’m blessed to know. It’s a great thing to have. …

“He just said the main thing guys evaluate is competition. How good you compete, if you come to practice with intensity. So this whole process, he said, ‘Don’t let the week go by.’ Take it day by day. Compete each day. Come with full intensity and have a great time.”

Kelly certainly took that to heart, as he was one of the top competitors in a deep cornerback group all he week. 


Measured at the Senior Bowl: 6-foot 1/8, 193 pounds, 31 3/4-inch arm span, 9 1/4-inch hands, 77 1/8-inch wingspan.


From the Senior Bowl: Kelly used his size and strength to outmuscle even the most physical receivers in Mobile all week long. He also showed a knack for jumping routes and getting his hands on the ball, securing multiple interceptions and one pick six. For a player that only had three college interceptions over four seasons with the Cardinal, that was a big step forward.


The Steelers certainly have a need at cornerback with Cam Sutton slated to become a free agent and Ahkello Witherspoon and William Jackson III potential salary cap casualties.

He checks a lot of the Steelers boxes with his size and physicality and NFL bloodlines. Size-wise, he fits right in with Steelers players like Jackson and Levi Wallace.


Kelly has seen his stock fall and then rise again since the end of Stanford’s season. According to the NFL Mock Draft Database, Kelly was ranked 141st on Dec. 1, dropped all the way to 214th on Jan. 7, and has since risen to his current, highest rating of 78th.

With the Steelers picking at No. 80 in the third round, Kelly could be an option.

Kyu Blu Kelly

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