Chad Kelly viewed as a starter candidate by Broncos

OXFORD, MS - SEPTEMBER 24: Chad Kelly /

The Denver Broncos apparently viewed Chad Kelly as a starter candidate when they drafted him, knowing he would redshirt, per Mike Klis…

As the Denver Broncos get set to pursue a new quarterback via free agency and the 2018 NFL Draft, there’s another name on their roster besides Paxton Lynch that might offer some in-house intrigue.

Chad Kelly, Mr. Irrelevant in the 2017 NFL Draft, was apparently not irrelevant to the Denver Broncos.

The Broncos kept and stashed Kelly on their roster last season, though he spent the entire year recovering from a couple of different injuries he suffered in college and in his draft preparation.

Mike Klis of 9News says that the Broncos had pretty high hopes for Kelly when they drafted him. Check out what he said in a Q&A:

"Matt, when they selected Kelly with the very last pick in the 2017 draft, the Broncos’ brass thought he had a chance to become their starting quarterback in 2019 or 2020. And that was knowing he would probably have to redshirt his rookie season because of his right wrist and knee injuries.So, he’s still got a chance. If the Broncos sign Cousins, his odds of starting here would become longer. If they don’t sign Cousins, this will be a big year for Kelly. He will have to impress during practices and preseason.Mike Klis, 9News"

It’s good to know the Broncos didn’t necessarily just throw caution to the wind when they used that draft pick on Kelly, and though there are many out there who believe picking Kelly was primarily a favor done by John Elway to Chad’s uncle Jim, I think the player has enough talent to turn some heads in Denver.

As Klis lays it out, it would require the Broncos first missing out on Kirk Cousins in order for Kelly to get a legitimate shot this year. But if the Broncos sign a short-term solution at the quarterback position in free agency, you never know what could happen with Kelly.

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He will get his chance in offseason workouts as well as training camp and the preseason, and the Broncos would be wise to objectively evaluate him, not look at him as another seventh round pick like Trevor Siemian, whose inclusion in the starting lineup sort of set the franchise back a couple of years.

Their fault, not his.

Kelly’s draft status could scare some fans and even some coaches off, but the dude can play. He was one of my favorite quarterbacks in the 2017 class, and I was shocked to see him picked in the late seventh round. Some felt he had first or second round talent when healthy and when he wasn’t getting into trouble.

Staying clean off the field for an entire year, working hard to get back in shape, and now ready to compete, Kelly is a very interesting player to watch this offseason.