Elway botches final pick with Kelly selection
Let’s get something out there quickly: I trust John Elway to build a winner on the field for the Denver Broncos. However, Elway really botched the 253rd and final pick in the 2017 NFL Draft last weekend in Philadelphia.
Elway, who is close friends with former Buffalo Bills star quarterback Jim Kelly, did his buddy a favor, throwing his family a bone by picking Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly — Jim’s nephew — as the “Mr. Irrelevant” selection of the draft.
On paper, it looks fine because last year’s starter for Denver was a seventh round pick coming off of a knee injury in college, but this one is different.
Sure, Kelly has a rocket for an arm and is very mobile for the position. He also played a big role in bringing the Ole Miss program back into relevance over the last two seasons, leading them to a Big 6 bowl game in 2016 against Oklahoma State.
However, Kelly is a troublemaker off the field and has a long history of transgressions that makes the pick look awful.
Where to start?’
Well, Kelly was kicked out of the Clemson program in April of 2014 for “conduct detrimental to the program.” Roughly eight months later, Kelly was arrested for punching a bouncer outside of a club in Buffalo and then threatening to open fire in the club, saying “I’m going to go to my car and get my AK-47 and spray this place,” according to police reports from the incident.
Later, while at Ole Miss, Kelly was caught in a photo rolling joints while in the middle of rehab from his torn ACL. Fortunately, he hasn’t failed a drug test yet, but for a guy who has been caught up in this in the past, it has to be a concern for the Broncos to bring in a guy with a history of drug use in the past into a state where marijuana is legal. I don’t have a problem with marijuana whatsoever, but the NFL still does, so one failed test puts you in the league’s drug program. It’s all uphill from there.
Rounding things out, while at Ole Miss, Kelly was involved in a brawl at his younger brother’s high school game, running out of the stands to confront the opposing team for a late hit on his younger brother. Not exactly a shining example of sportsmanship here, no?
Without all the off-field concerns, I think Kelly has the arm talent to be a starting quarterback in the NFL, but the fact that he can’t stay healthy (two torn ACLs in his career and then tore ligaments in his wrist at Ole Miss’ pro day) brings cause for serious concerns about Kelly the player.
NFL Network draft guru Mike Mayock called Kelly a first-round quarterback without the off-field concerns and medical. Unfortunately for Kelly, Mayock and the Broncos, those off-field concerns and medical issues exist and are unlikely to go anywhere at this point.
But the main reason I think Elway botched this is because of the talent he has in the quarterback room already.
I’ve been on record saying I like Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch as quarterbacks for the Broncos, regardless of who wins the job. Both are talented enough to lead the team to the playoffs. But when you add Kelly into the quarterback room it completely changes the dynamics of that room. I just don’t think he’s the right piece for this team.
Granted, seventh-round picks making an NFL roster are few and far between, but it would have helped the Broncos to look at a position with a greater need, like the offensive line or defensive line with the final pick in the draft.
Plus, I really have a problem with Elway throwing Jim Kelly and his family a bone with this draft pick. While I can understand the friendship, considering the two were in the greatest quarterback draft class of all-time in 1983, this is a business, and there’s no time for you to be helping a friend out just because you feel bad.
Chad Kelly may turn out to be a decent pro quarterback that can be a backup long term, but I strongly believe he’ll never develop into a long-term starter.
If he does for the Broncos, I’ll literally eat this column on our Facebook Live feed.
But there’s no doubt in my mind that Elway botched this pick, regardless of it being the last pick in the draft. Kelly’s been given more than enough chances to get things straight off the field. He’s shown time and time again that he can’t.
Why take the risk? Why reward the kid by hearing his named called on the final day of the draft?
It just looks bad and really doesn’t sit well with me, not that my feelings on the issue should play a factor in what Elway does in the draft.
But I’m sure Broncos fans are experiencing similar feelings at the moment when it comes to the selection of Kelly.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.