6’2″, 220 Quarterback Chad Kelly was drafted by the Broncos as the last pick of the 2017 NFL draft. Like Johnny Manziel at Texas A&M, Kelly showed at Ole Miss flashes of what he potentially could do in the NFL.
Unfortunately, like Manziel, Kelly also suffers from a similar history of bad behavior choices, and sometimes panicky decisions on and off the football field. They may go hand in hand.
Could drugs or alcohol be the problem? Or mental illness? Kelly has had repeated brushes with authority. An in-depth scouting report says he had multiple incidents at Ole Miss. This was the same pattern at Clemson and obviously in high school as well. In the scouting report it said he had aggression and maturity issues, and advised Kelly seek professional help. Since the report used the word ‘seek,’ not continue, it infers he hasn’t actualy addressed the concerns because it was written after the NFL kept Kelly from the combine.
Kelly was sentenced in January of 2015 after assaulting two bouncers and two cops. Part of his guilty plea in exchange for having criminal charges dropped (and keeping his scholarship at his new college) included mandatory evaluation for alcohol or drug abuse. Along with treatment if they found a problem.
Based on the January 2017 snap chat photo of him appearing to be rolling a joint with a bag of weed on the table, one could assume there is an issue. If Kelly were serious about all of the chances he has been offered, wouldn’t he be making the changes needed to stay out of trouble? It also suggests, like his brawl at the football game (caught on tape) and the assault at the bar, the company he keeps is worrisome. Like Johnny.
With his past history of being expelled from high school, kicked off the Clemson football team and the fight this fall during his brother’s football game, there is cause for concern.
When he was arrested, Buffalo police stated at about 3:15 a.m., 20 year old Kelly refused to leave Encore (bar) and punched a bouncer in the face.
Kelly’s 21 year old friend had been thrown out of the bar earlier and tried to re-enter.
Kelly fought with two bouncers and stated, “I’m going to go to my car and get my AK-47 and spray this place,” according to the report.
After Police responded to the threat, they stopped a pickup truck Kelly was in. Kelly had to be forcefully removed from the vehicle by two officers.
Police stated Kelly kicked and tried to swing at officers as they removed him. They said he resisted getting into a patrol car and struggled with staff at central booking.
The bar’s bouncers suffered minor injuries from the run-in.
Kelly was charged with third-degree assault, second-degree harassment, second-degree menacing, resisting arrest, fourth-degree criminal mischief and second-degree obstructing governmental administration and third degree criminal trespass.
Kelly’s attorney said he was not the aggressor but must learn to control his anger and walk away from such situations.
He described Kelly as “a good kid who is highly competitive and highly emotional” who needs to act more maturely and learn to control his temper.
Based on the large fight this fall, I’d say he still hasn’t mastered that. Add smoking pot with an untrustworthy friend so close to the combine, it appears his maturity level is also questionable.
Robert Downy, Jr., the actor, had such a terrible drug addiction that he ended up in prison. After his release, he said they realized during therapy that he had been self medicating. The reason? He has bi-polar disorder. He’s been clean and sober since then with the help of therapy and medication.
WR Brandon Marshall had a long history of problems. After another run-in with the law, he sought treatment and was diagnosed with personality disorder. He takes medication every day and continues therapy. Both men had to reach rock bottom before getting to the age to understand and accept they needed help.
With problems serious enough since high school that got him permanently expelled, one can wonder if there’s more going on than just temper and maturity issues.
Elway has now taken on the job of handling this: if it’s a mental illness, and/or addiction, or Kelly is just a reckless hothead who makes poor choices–it’s the Broncos’ problem now. There are several other smaller incidences similar to what Manziel had before he went full off the high board. By drafting Kelly, are the Broncos’ at risk of the unwanted distractions of such off-field shenanigans?
Elway said in his presser that Chad will have no room for error. The question is, how will he fit in with our two calm good-guy QBs? Lynch and Siemian are laid back, drama-less young men with squeaky clean backgrounds.
Also, what is the goal in taking on a huge babysitting burden? To have a better back-up next year? Kelly has made grandiose comments about his skill level, which leads one to think being number two isn’t in his mindset. And he has a chip on his shoulder. Ask Dabo Sweeney.
However, he won’t be able to throw a football and practice until late August/early September. He’s coming off surgeries–ACL and thumb, so he’s not played any football since November 2016. Obviously, he won’t be threatening anyone’s starting gig, this season.
It’s difficult to even see him play a preseason game unless it’s the fourth quarter in week four. He’s so behind both Siemian and Lynch and will be for a while, it may be forever. He has a lot of ground to cover. He also is a pure shotgun QB, and will need to work on his feet to be successful in the pros. Which he won’t be able to work on until the end of summer.
So, what’s the goal? Elway boot camp to get him ready for another team? Joseph said he was his favorite QB in this draft. I assume that was because of the two wins against Alabama. So, does he pass him off? Try to keep him? In what role?
After he finishes physical rehab, it will be almost a year since he had any football practice. Add on being a rookie, he will get zero reps with the ones. That boat will have sailed. By the end of August we will have a clear starter and that guy (Lynch) will own the team and the ones. Leaving he, Trevor and the UDFA QB splitting the twos and threes.
Is the goal to replace Trevor with Kelly next year? Or throw caution to the wind and cut Trevor and hope Lynch stays healthy? Kelly is a better QB than Siemian, and is much further ahead of where Lynch was when he declared. If all three guys had entered the draft last year, and Kelly had no issues, he’d have been taken by a team before both TS and PL.
However, that’s not the case. Plus, the mental aspect of the game, just like in his life off the field, is his biggest issue. Play defense in his face and he loses his cool. Makes poor choices.
Not to mention, how do you cut a guy with NFL starts over one who misses OTA’s, Training Camp and at least two preseason games? If he plays in a preseason game, he’ll face defensive players who are on the bubble of being cut. Giving the coaches only a tiny sliver of where he’s at against bottom string guys who are allowed to hit him.
Trading Trevor has appeal, but not over having an unknown loose cannon with no playing time. So what’s the plan this season, or next?
If Lynch doesn’t show improvement from week 1 to 17, is the goal to have Kelly be the next Broncos’ QB? Even that is odd because Elway clearly likes tall QBs. This is partly why he passed on Wilson for Asweiler. He’s built like Mark Sanchez. This is without even addressing his injuries and mental issues.
He is a good scrambler and can throw on the run with superb accuracy, but with this second ACL tear in his other knee, one wonders about his durability. Is he another Trevor? Also, how will his mobility and accuracy be affected with this second one? For many QB’s, tearing the right one (which he did this time) is the killer, not the left. That one he tore at Clemson.
Add the injured thumb and Denver will have no idea what they have for a long time. It’s not as if week 2 or 3 of pre-season he gets cleared and bam he’s 100% to go. Let alone in a game with no practice. That thumb and most likely the whole whole hand, will be weak and stiff.
As I wrote above, if the goal is he’s a safety net for Lynch, he’s a strange one to pick. They could draft a QB next year and get one with no red flags. One they don’t have to hope and pray doesn’t regress.
To me, with so much baggage, this seems more of a favor to Jim Kelly to get his nephew turned around. Show him what maybe (provided his physical prowess isn’t damaged from the right knee and thumb) he could have down the road if he seeks help and can go at least a year without any blemishes. No one is going to put him out front without giving him time to prove he can remain trouble free for an extended time.
Or, John Elway sees his son in Chad. Another troubled youth who tried to follow behind big footsteps. He wants to help out to a friend’s family. Plus, Kelly does appear to have the talent to start in the NFL. Unlike Asweiler, who Elway overreached for when he drafted Jack’s best friend in the second round. Which shows there is precedence in him wanting to see the best in those he has close ties to.
Elway may not care about Kelly’s history as a back-up, but putting his face on this franchise, should concern he and Joe Ellis. Denver doesn’t have any history of troubled QB’s. A few posteriors, but none who kicked a cop and threatened to use an AK-47. Or had a life of constant instances of being in trouble. With Columbine anniversary last week, I’d think it would be a touchy subject.
That leaves one scratching one’s head. Kelly isn’t better than several of the next crop of QB’s. If he does see the field, it means Elway made a colossal miss on Lynch or he got hurt and so did Trevor. Both disaster scenarios. And if Elway missed on every QB he’s drafted, that’s not a good sign for Kelly, either.
Finally, what does Elway do with him next year if Lynch thrives? Will Kelly be content as the quiet no drama back-up? Hide his self professed ‘swag’? Does he use him in a trade? Has him spend a year in therapy, works on his skill set and sets him up elsewhere? The last seems most plausible. Look how he helped get Asweiler in Texas with a load of cash.
The end goal is intervention? Give him a final shot and let him make it as a starter on a team who does have a history of taking on troubled quarterbacks? I hope that happens. If he suffers from mental illness, and can overcome and not waste his God given talent, it’s a win for him and Elway for helping this kid out.
One thing is for certain, he was just handed a very precious gift, one no other team wanted to give him. Teams who drafted quarterbacks and have former players as General Managers. They passed. That says a lot.
Whether he is still on the team week one or not, he needs to put his head down, stay silent and obey orders. His prominent tattoo says, FEAR NONE. He better fear Elway because he’s way past a second chance, this is more like number 1,000 and he owes the Bowlens, Ellis, Elway, Joseph, his uncle and Broncos Country everything he has to give and tack on an extra 20%.