With the 253rd and final selection of the NFL Draft, the Denver Broncos crowned the newest “Mr. Irrelevant” and he comes in the form of Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly, nephew of Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly.
Kelly is 6’2″, 224 pounds and his senior season was cut short when he tore the ACL in his right knee. In his junior season, he was a prolific passer, registering 4,042 yards passing with 31 touchdowns and 13 interceptions to go with 500 yards rushing and 10 rushing touchdowns en route to being named MVP of the Sugar Bowl.
NFL.com’s scouting report says:
Good arm talent. Will make “wow” throws, especially early in games. Has shown an ability to make bold, anticipatory throws over the deep middle. Over final two seasons at Ole Miss, saw 13.6% of his pass attempts go for 20-plus yards, a higher percentage than both Deshaun Watson and DeShone Kizer. Can alter release to account for sudden shifts and movements by defense or his own receivers. Poise is good enough. Will pump, slide, and re-set his feet to make accurate throws. Can set up and fire quickly from the pocket. When he sits down on throws, will use lower body to drive the ball through his targets. Gamer with a competitive streak that runs deep. Touch throws are in his repertoire when attacking area between linebackers and safeties. Looks comfortable in rollouts and boot-action throws. Completed 66.7 percent of his passes when on the move in 2016. Shuffles to safe spots inside the pocket and is able to scramble out of pressure and find targets. Willing runner with runs of 43 and 41 yards over last two seasons. Attacks the middle of the field with accuracy and throws consistent strikes to stationary targets.
Lacks desired size and willing to take way too many hits outside the pocket. Has worked almost exclusively from shotgun and pistol. Struggles to maintain early success after halftime defensive adjustments. Completed just 2-of-12 deep shots down the left sideline in 2016. Under-throws some deep balls when trying to pass with touch. Inconsistent air under the ball. Saw interception percentage skyrocket when throwing to left side of the field. Woeful on back-shoulder fades. When pressure heads his way, he tucks and scoots rather than stands and delivers. Has random bouts of inaccuracy on wide receiver screens and outs. Throws nose-dive on move throws. Inconsistent working through progressions. Fails to see wide-open receivers, opting instead to make his job harder. Mind appears to be racing at times. Needs to manipulate safeties with lingering glares. Considered a character concern by some scouts; kicked off Clemson team for “detrimental conduct.”
He’s hardly a scouting favorite based on reputation and inconsistency, but Kelly has attributes that could make him an eventual starter in the league if his personal and football character are kept in check. Kelly’s competitive nature and willingness to challenge defenses will lead to some hot-and-cold moments, but there is some talent to work with there.