Denver Broncos training camp preview: Quarterbacks
Age 23 – Contract: 4 years remaining ($481,067 cap hit)
Chad Kelly has got to be the most interesting ‘Mr. Irrelevant’ pick I can remember.
The nephew of Buffalo Bills legend Jim Kelly was once kicked off the Clemson football team, has allegedly made some really dumb comments off the football field, and has had his name in the news for all the wrong reasons.
That was (hopefully) the old Chad Kelly, but those were factors that contributed to his nearly going undrafted out of Ole Miss.
After being dismissed from Clemson, Kelly ended up at East Mississippi Community College, which is now famous for their Netflix show, where he won a National Championship. His dominant season at EMCC earned him a spot at Ole Miss, where he instantly became one of the top playmakers in the SEC.
That doesn’t often just happen.
Kelly’s 2015 tape is some of the best I’ve seen among quarterbacks coming out in the past two draft classes. I don’t just say that for hyperbole, either. Going into the 2016 season, Kelly was expected to prove himself worthy of a first or second round selection.
Injuries played a factor in him missing some games as well as offseason workouts, and combining injuries and off-field issues caused Kelly to fall much further in the draft than he should have.
Though not perfect as a prospect, Kelly looks to me like he would have been worthy of a day two flier as far as what he does on the field. He has a strong arm, is very athletic, and he completed about 64 percent of his passes while at Ole Miss.
He had 50 passing touchdowns in two seasons with the Rebels compared to 21 interceptions, and added 15 rushing touchdowns. He won some big games as a junior, specifically in SEC play where he helped the Rebels take down mighty Alabama.
I don’t know that Kelly is going to compete for a starting job this year, but I will be very interested to see him work on the field. He finally is getting cleared to throw after a wrist injury a couple of months ago, and combined with his knee injury, there’s a lot of uncertainty with what his 2017 contributions will be.
Some think he’ll go on injured reserve, while others think he’ll be cut entirely. I think the Broncos will keep Kelly as a third quarterback this season and let him develop running the scout team offense.
The decision to draft Kelly was brilliant, as the Broncos have nothing to lose from it if it doesn’t work out.
I personally think after all the games I’ve seen, Kelly could compete in 2018 for the starting job with a year of learning under his belt.