Every year, it’s fun to follow which player is selected with the final pick in the NFL Draft, the player affectionately dubbed “Mr. Irrelevant.” This year, the Denver Broncos were awarded the final pick as a compensatory pick and made Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly “Mr. Irrelevant.”
It’s almost a celebrity status, as the player gets their own custom jersey to commemorate the event of concluding the draft, but Kelly was a very relevant figure in the football world well ahead of becoming “Mr. I.”
Kelly had his ups and downs during his draft experience, being one of the top talents at his position but falling all the way to the final pick. The Broncos, needing a third QB for the roster, decided Kelly was worthy of taking with their final pick of the 2017 Draft, despite a checkered college career.
The nephew of Buffalo Bills Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly, Chad began his college career at Clemson before transferring to Mississippi Community College and finally settling in at Ole Miss. In 2015, he had a terrific year for Ole Miss, throwing for 4,042 yards and posting a 31-13 touchdown to interception ratio. His 2016 season was cut short as he tore his ACL and meniscus in November.
Kelly possesses a cannon arm and sharp skills on the field, not afraid to step outside the pocket and scramble while keeping his eyes downfield. His natural arm allows him to make all of the throws necessary as an NFL quarterback.
Despite his talent, Kelly fell in the draft due to character and injury concerns. In December 2014, Kelly was involved in an altercation outside of a club threatening a bouncer to “spray this place” with an assault rifle. He then resisted arrest from officers responding to the scene. Kelly pled guilty to disorderly conduct. He was dismissed from the Clemson football team following the 2013 season for what coaches deemed “conduct detrimental” after an altercation on campus. Kelly again caused controversy in 2016 when he ran onto the field of a high school football game his brother was playing in to dispute a call during the game.
Injury concerns have also derailed Kelly’s draft stock. Not only was his knee an issue, but during Ole Miss’ pro day, Kelly tore a ligament in his wrist and won’t be able to throw the football until training camp opens.
Kelly comes to the Broncos as their third quarterback on the roster. He will backup Paxton Lynch and Trevor Siemian and will probably sit out his rookie campaign to continue to heal from his injuries.
If Kelly can put his off-field issues behind him and stay healthy on it, the Broncos may have found a very special quarterback that could one day push Lynch and Siemian for the starting job. Until then, he is “Mr. Irrelevant” for the 2017 NFL Draft.