Travis Kelce is a 30-year-old 6'5" 260 pound beast from Westlake, Ohio. He was a three-sport athlete, playing football, basketball, and baseball. In high school, he was an impressive quarterback Kelce accumulated over 2,500 yards of total offense in his senior year alone.
He was considered a two-star recruit, Travis would join his brother, Jason, at the University of Cincinnati. He redshirted his first year 2008, and then in 2009 appeared as both a tight end and quarterback, often in the wildcat formation.
Kelce did not play in the 2010 season as a result of a violation of team rules, secondary to a failed drug test, which was reportedly for marijuana. In 2011, Kelce saw action in 11 games, but only caught 13 passes for two touchdowns. In his final year of college, 2012, Kelce finally broke out and played in all 13 games, catching 45 passes for over 700 yards and eight touchdowns. His performance earned him first-team all-conference honors.
Kelce was a third-round selection of the 2013 draft by the Kansas City Chiefs. Unfortunately, his rookie season did not go as planned as he suffered a knee injury in October, ending his season by being placed on injured reserve.
During his 2014 season, he led the Chiefs in receiving by catching 67 passes for over 850 yards. His 2015 season was even better as he started in all 16 games, catching 72 passes for almost 900 yards and five touchdowns earning his way to the Pro-Bowl.
There have been instances in Kelce's career where some immaturity has been demonstrated, including the failed drug test in college, as well as multiple inappropriate hand gestures and penalties spanning several seasons.
Let's review some of Kelce's injuries. His most significant injury was a 2013 injury to his kneecap area, where some damage to the cartilage resulted in what is called a microfracture procedure. The injury could have been career-ending. Unlike many athletes who undergo microfracture procedures on their knee to help with the regrowth of cartilage, Kelce was able to overcome the poor odds and thrive over the past six years, as a result.
In 2014 he suffered a minor rib injury that did not cause him to miss any time. In 2015 he suffered a minor ankle sprain in late August, but again this did not cause him to lose any regular-season time.
In the off-season of the 2017 season, he underwent a minor arthroscopic procedure to his shoulder that likely was to address some labral tearing or possible inflammation around the rotator cuff tendons. Unfortunately, in 2017 Kelce suffered two concussions approximately three months apart. Thankfully over the past two seasons, Kelce has remained healthy and has played in all 32 of 32 games.
Kelce has finished in the top-10 of tight ends since 2014 and has been a TE1 in 2016 and now in back-to-back seasons (2018-2019). In 2017, Kelce was a close second to Rob Gronkowski. He finished TE6 in 2015, and eighth in 2014.
There is no reason why Kelce won't continue to be a TE1. He has Patrick Mahomes as his quarterback, and the running game has gotten a boost with the drafting of Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who was the first back taking off the board.
Kelce will get help with the speed of Tyreek Hill taking the top off the defense, Mecole Hardman getting better in his second season and Sammy Watkins. The offensive line isn't bad, but not excellent either. Returning are Eric Fisher, Nick Allegretti, Austin Reiter, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, and Mitchell Schwartz. The Chiefs protect the pass well, allowing just a 2.5-second pressure rate according to PFF.
Sports Injury Predictor calculates that Kelce has a 52.3% chance of injury in 2020, which translates to a 4.5% chance of injury per game.
I (Dr. Morse) am not exactly sure why Kelce has such a high injury score, maybe it's the nature of his position. Kelce has been very consistent over the past couple of years, only missing one game since the 2013 season. He has caught at least 83 passes in each of the last four years, recording over 1000 yards in each of those seasons as well.
The only minor concern with Kelce is his history of concussions, but he has been able to effectively avoid suffering any known concussions over the past two years. Impressively, Kelce has been able to overcome many obstacles, including suspension and significant knee injuries to become an elite tight end in the NFL.
He will always be at higher risk than someone who has not suffered a concussion, but the fact that he has been able to play and suffer likely blows that are equivalent to suffering a concussion, he has not succumbed to one. It is very reassuring. His risk score is low, 1 out of 10. Barring any type of injury, draft Kelce as you usually would with no lower than TE3 downside.
Injury Risk: Low. 1/10.
|Projected Missed||Probability of injury per game ?||Probablity of injury in the season ?|
|Jan 8, 2020||Knee Bruise||Kelce had practiced on a limited basis due to knee soreness ahead of Divisional Round matchup against the Texans|
|Jan 6, 2018||Head Cranial Concussion Grade 1||Kelce missed the 2nd half of the Wild Card Round loss to the Titans with a concussion. It was his 2nd of the season.|
|Oct 8, 2017||Head Cranial Concussion Grade 1||Kelce suffered a concussion against the Texans. He was initially cleared to return to the game but showed some short-term memory loss at halftime. Kelce cleared the protocol in time to play the following week.|
|Feb 28, 2017||Shoulder||Kelce had February shoulder surgery that HC Andy Reid indicated was a "cleanup" type procedure. He missed no game time, and it's not clear what the original injury was (which also caused no missed game time).|
|Aug 31, 2015||Pedal Ankle Sprain/Pull Unspecified Grade 1||Kelce suffered an ankle sprain in a preseason practice. He sat out the 4th preseason contest, though HC Andy Reid said he would have played if it were a regular-season game. Kelce returned for Week 1.|
|Oct 19, 2014||Chest Rib Sprain/Pull Unspecified||Kelce sustained a rib injury but played through it. HC Andy Reid called it a sore rib "mostly up in the cartilage area."|
|Sep 3, 2013||Knee Patella Fracture||Kelce had arthroscopic surgery on his bothersome knee, which revealed a cartilage issue that led to a microfracture procedure. He missed all but 1 play of 2013 but didn't lose another game to the knee. Original injury deemed a bone bruise.|