Chad Kelly can factor himself into the Broncos’ 2018 plans

OXFORD, MS - OCTOBER 29: Quarterback Chad Kelly
OXFORD, MS - OCTOBER 29: Quarterback Chad Kelly /

Chad Kelly, Mr. Irrelevant in the 2017 NFL Draft, can still factor in to the Denver Broncos’ 2018 plans at the position. Here’s how…

The Denver Broncos may have struck out on quarterbacks for the 2017 season, but they have one card up their sleeves for 2018 that hasn’t been discussed much since the time of the 2017 NFL Draft: Chad Kelly.

Many fans are split on whether or not Kelly has the chops to play in the NFL, and rightly so. After all, he was a seventh round draft pick for a reason.

I’ve maintained since the draft that Kelly was picked last only because of the fact that he was — at times — an idiot in college. I don’t think that’s unfair or out of place to say. Kelly was kicked off the Clemson football team and ended up at a community college where he absolutely dominated, and earned a scholarship to Ole Miss.

In 2015, while we were all watching the Broncos’ Super Bowl 50 season, Kelly dominated the SEC as an Ole Miss Rebel, and scouts felt like he had shown the potential to be a top 50 selection in the NFL Draft, if not a first round selection.

Whatever your opinion of Kelly is, there’s a decent chance he’s going to factor into the Broncos’ 2018 plans at quarterback.

Why? How?

With all that’s going on in Denver this season, it stands to reason that Brock Osweiler won’t be brought back. If he is, it will be in a backup capacity only.

It also stands to reason that at some point in March or April, Trevor Siemian will be traded.

If that’s the case, and the Broncos have just Paxton Lynch and Chad Kelly for the first round of OTAs, then all Kelly has to do is out-perform the Broncos’ 2016 first round pick, which we’ve seen to this point is not that difficult to do.

We haven’t gotten much of a look at all at what Kelly can do, save for a throw or two at the end of practice. The Broncos have been watching him all year, monitoring his progress health-wise with his multiple injuries coming into the offseason.

It may only be for a brief time, but when the Broncos get together for workouts this offseason, Kelly may very well be the most impressive (of the two) quarterbacks in the building.

If that’s the case, the Broncos could very well make plans for him to be on the roster in 2018, and not Lynch, who is another candidate to be traded this offseason.

The Broncos could also hang on to both guys, but if you were to give me a head-to-head contest between the two as to who would perform better in any setting — practice, game, or otherwise — I would pick Kelly without hesitation.

After watching his college games, I came to the conclusion that Kelly had the most impressive college resume’ of any quarterback on the Broncos’ roster, at least in terms of on-field performance.

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I wrote earlier this season an article making the ‘case’ for every quarterback on the Broncos’ roster as both a short and/or long-term option. I legitimately feel like, of the quarterbacks on Denver’s current roster, Kelly is the best passer and really the best player overall.

He may not have the physical talent of Paxton Lynch, or the knowledge and experience of Siemian and Osweiler, but I think he’s the best player.

Bill Polian, a former executive in the NFL, agrees with that.

At the time of the 2017 NFL Draft, Mike Mayock of NFL Network also stated that, were it not for his off-field issues, Kelly would have been a first- or second-round pick.

The politics of the NFL could get in the way of Kelly ever playing a down, even in the preseason for the Broncos, but this team would be foolish not to see what they have in Kelly after sticking with him through this entire year while he gets healthy.

They made an investment, even though it was the last pick of the 2017 draft, and now more than just the draft capital, they’ve invested almost a full season’s worth of time into developing Kelly.

I think this is a player that could at least factor in as a valuable and talented number three for next season, if not show out in OTAs, training camp, and preseason play, and really open some eyes with what he can do.