Lions host CB Keith Tandy, OT Dennis Kelly and OG J.C. Oram

Posted Apr 13, 2012

Keith Tandy was an incredible talent playing quarterback in high school in Kentucky. He threw for more than 8,000 yards and 90 touchdowns in his high school career.

However, Tandy never threw a pass in college. He was converted to cornerback when he got to the University of West Virginia and quickly found his niche on the other side of the ball. He started every game his final three years at West Virginia and had 10 interceptions and 20 pass break-ups over his last two seasons.

Tandy visited with the Lions on Friday as one of their 30 pre-draft visits.

“Playing quarterback gave me a feel for what quarterbacks are looking for in coverage’s and I was able to see them tipping off what they’re going to do or not do because that’s the stuff I did when I played quarterback,” Tandy told Friday.

Tandy (5-10, 199) is a terrific athlete, but is considered by most analysts to be more of a zone specific defender in the NFL.

“We were a big zone team in college,” Tandy said. “We liked to give up the short pass and go up and make the tackle. I had a good time in that system, but whenever we were called to play man-to-man, I was able to do that.”

Because he played a lot of zone in college, some analysts think he might make a good safety at the next level. Tandy says he’s open to playing either corner or safety in the NFL.

“I like hitting a little bit and tackling a little bit and I wouldn’t mind playing some nickel and playing some safety and moving a little closer to the ball,” he said.

The Lions are looking for depth in their secondary and players that can play both man and zone, with the potential to play safety, is a commodity.

Tandy said he’s also visited with Steelers and Jaguars.

Kelly moving up boards after Pro Day

Is there such a thing as a lean 321 pounds?

If there is, former Purdue tackle Dennis Kelly might fit the mold. Kelly stands 6-foot-8 and that makes his 321-pound frame seem lean.

When scouts and NFL personnel see lean, they immediately question strength. But during his Pro Day at Purdue March 9, Kelly bench-pressed 225 pounds 30 times, which answered any questions about his strength.

“Throughout this process some people questioned if I’d be strong enough because I’m tall and lean, but I’ve always been stronger than I look,” he said.

“I played a little under 310 pounds while I was at Purdue. I put some weight on during training and kind of turned some heads to some teams. They saw that I could put the weight on and still move and still use some of that athleticism that was part of my game.”

Coaches have to like Kelly’s experience as a three-year starter in the Big Ten. He went up against Ryan Kerrigan every day in practice and has played against some elite pass rushers over the years.

“Playing that much is going to help me in the future because I know what it’s like to play in a big-time atmosphere,” Kelly said. “ I know what it’s like to play against an All American."

It’s well documented the Lions are looking for depth along the offensive line and wouldn’t mind a few young players challenging the veterans in training camp. Kelly is a big body with a lot of experience.

Kelly had a private workout with the Lions previous to to his visit Friday.

His Pro Day moved him from a late-round pick to a mid-round selection.

Kelly has already visited the Bears, Cardinals and Colts and has three more visits scheduled with the Falcons, Eagles and Buccaneers.

Oram a mauling guard

The Lions also hosted Weber State guard J.C. Oram.

Oram played in 48 career games at Weber State and started 47 of them over his four-year career. As a senior in 2011 he was named a consensus All-American.

Oram is a terrific run blocker at 6-foot-3, 300 pounds and moves for his size. He’s not a polished pass protector, but he’s a gamer with lots of experience.