Denver Broncos general manager John Elway was very complimentary of quarterback Chad Kelly, stating he wasn’t surprised by how well he played.
The Denver Broncos have maintained that Chad Kelly’s recent promotion to the backup quarterback position was not due simply to his play in the team’s preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings.
Kelly has been working hard since he got to Denver not only to get healthy but make an impression on the coaching staff and front office.
General manager John Elway said he was not surprised Kelly played as well as he did in the Broncos’ preseason opener.
"“I had a feeling he was going to play well. He’s a competitive guy, he’s played a lot of snaps and he’s instinctive. He took advantage of the opportunity that he had. He was looking forward to going out and playing and chomping at the bit. It did not surprise me, the way Chad played. He played very well. He’s got good instincts. He deserved the chance to play with the twos this week.”John Elway (quotes via Broncos PR)"
In addition to Elway not being surprised about Kelly’s strong play in week one of the preseason, a large sect of Broncos Country was also not surprised.
Kelly was a seventh-round pick and the final pick of the 2017 NFL Draft but he did not play like that in college.
Due to off-field and injury concerns, Kelly nearly went undrafted but the Broncos scooped him up before he could hit the undrafted free agent market.
Many NFL Draft outlets considered him a late first-round or day two NFL Draft prospect after his brilliant 2015 season with Ole Miss, but his stock took a dip after the 2016 season in which he played injured and lost a number of very talented teammates to the NFL (Laremy Tunsil, Laquon Treadwell among them).
Excuses aside, Kelly still played well in 2016, just not as well as he had the year prior.
He still showed signs of what made him a good NFL prospect, but the league was wary of drafting him due to off-field issues throughout his time in college.
By all accounts now, Kelly has more than cleaned up his act and is not only keeping quiet off the field, he’s making noise for the right reasons, getting involved in the Denver community and making a huge difference.
Not only that, but he’s working his butt off to be better, which is more than could be said of Paxton Lynch through his first two years in the NFL, according to some reports.
Kelly’s progress and Lynch’s regression forced the Broncos’ hand here, but this is an opportunity Kelly definitely deserved.
He’s going to get a chance to show on Saturday night against the Bears what he can do with and against better players in a game setting.