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Kaleb Eleby

Kaleb Eleby Knows He Can Compete With Other 2022 NFL Draft QB Prospects

  • Crissy Froyd
  • February 21, 2022
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Western Michigan quarterback Kaleb Eleby is one of the lesser-known quarterbacks to receive an invite to the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine, but it was something that was earned, not given. Eleby played a role in helping his program accomplish something historic, leading the Broncos to just their second bowl win in school history as they downed the Nevada Wolf Pack 52-24. The WMU signal-caller considers it one of the highest points of his career given the fact it had only been done once and the circumstances under which it was accomplished. “Winning it was number one,” Eleby said. “Being able to play in an NFL stadium was an experience I was really grateful for that I’ll never forget. Playing in front of the home state fans and playing in Detroit, Michigan was another. To have helped deliver the second bowl win in school history was a surreal moment.” The 6-foot-1, 210-pounder was efficient both through the air and on the ground in that game with two passing touchdowns and one rushing touchdown as he checked the boxes on what needed to be done to help the Bronco roll. The victory capped off a standout 2021 season for Eleby where he completed 63.5% of his passes for just under 3,300 passing yards with 23 touchdowns and six interceptions on 362 passing attempts to go with six rushing touchdowns. He brings to the table a high level of accuracy and a great arm for whichever team chooses to take him at the next level, things that have helped some of his receivers garner attention, but he’s not one to brag about what he can do in his own right. While he agrees wins like the 44-41 victory over Pittsburgh in Week 3 of the season where he passed for 337 yards and three touchdowns showed that he could contend with the nation’s most highly regarded draft-eligible quarterbacks like Kenny Pickett, he’s more focused on making sure the game plan goes smoothly. It’s about helping the team succeed and making sure things are done correctly on the field—whether he’s the one lighting up the stat sheet or managing the game. “Absolutely (I showed that I could contend),” he said. “That was a great team win to come out on top of and we showed a lot about ourselves in that game. I feel like we were able to go out and execute and as a quarterback and the leader of a team that’s all you can ask for. "My job is to execute. To go out there and lead the team and get the ball into playmakers’ hands. I think looking at the film, people will be able to see that I do that.” Eleby is also confident in the things he can do from an intangibles perspective and feels he’s continuing to improve in all aspects of his game while training down south ahead of the draft. “I’m coachable, which I think is the most important thing,” Eleby said. “ I think my work ethic and level of determination stands out, the love for the game and desire to win, leadership, and my ability to get better one percent every day. I’m down in Mobile, Alabama training at QB Country with David Morris who is one of the best of the best and I’m learning a lot. I’m working on technique and just my overall football IQ as far as the NFL game goes.” It’s obvious that Eleby had success running the Western Michigan offense and had a decent amount of control at the line of scrimmage. “We did a little bit of everything (at Western Michigan),” Eleby said. “We were more of an RPO-based offense,” Eleby said. “We had a lot of different things, being able to check to runs and changing protections, I could do that when necessary. Just kind of looking at fronts and being able to put us in the best scenario and best play call. Coaches up in the press box would be able to see some things as well, something we utilized, being able to have a look up top from the press box to help us out some.” Still, he knows the transition from the college level playing in the MAC to trying to make a name for himself in the NFL will be a huge one. It’s not something he necessarily views as a bad or intimidating thing, though. “As far as how all of that translates to the NFL, there will definitely be a level of transition. I’ve put a lot of emphasis on watching NFL offenses and NFL films in this pre-draft process. I feel like I’ve grown a lot in learning that stuff. I think Western Michigan there was a lot of ‘what is the defense showing, what could they be trying to disguise on you as far as alignment and things of that nature.’ It’s going to be different, but football is football at the end of the day.” Like some other talented quarterbacks in this class, Eleby faces what can be called the “small-school stigma.” Just the same way players like Nevada quarterback Carson Strong (Mountain West) and Western Kentucky quarterback Bailey Zappe (C-USA) face questions of whether or not they can succeed against higher-level competition, so does Eleby. But at the end of the day, things of that nature are out of a player’s control and shouldn’t be a huge deterrent from a team taking them. Eleby has a further chance to impress scouts and cast some shadows on that narrative in Indianapolis next month. “It’s definitely a blessing to be able to have that combine invite and it’s something I do not take lightly at all,” Eleby said. “I’m very grateful and honored. As far as what I’m looking to showcase, I just want to show who I am as a player and a person. What you see is what you get and I’m going to let that be what it is.”

Written By

Crissy Froyd