Chad Kelly's talent and arm strength is undeniable. But injuries and off-field issues pushed the Ole Miss quarterback down draft boards.
Instead of going near the top of the draft, Kelly will forever be known as Mr. Irrelevant of the 2017 NFL Draft as the Broncos selected him with the final pick Saturday.
Kelly went 253rd overall after throwing for more than 4,000 yards and 31 touchdowns in 2015 and then 2,758 yards and 19 touchdowns to eight interceptions in nine games last season.
The 23-year-old quarterback, and nephew of Bills Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly, is the 42nd Mr. Irrelevant since former NFL receiver Paul Salata began the tradition in 1976.
Kelly has probably the strongest arm of any quarterback in the 2017 draft class, but a torn ACL suffered late last season cost him spring workouts this year. The 6-2, 224-pound quarterback was at the Senior Bowl and was able to answer questions about his checkered past.
He had disciplinary issues in high school and was kicked out of Clemson following multiple violations of team rules. He transferred to East Mississippi Community College, where he led the team to a junior college national championship in his lone season there before transferring to Ole Miss.
Kelly will probably have to sit out his rookie season to heal from his knee injury, but if his off-field issues are behind him and he has found the maturity needed to lead an NFL team, the Broncos could have gotten a steal at the bottom of the draft.
Mr. Irrelevant is treated to an entire week of festivities this summer in Newport Beach, Calif. A banquet in Kelly's honor will be held at the Balboa Bay Resort, the original site of Mr. Irrelevant, and Kelly will be presented the Lowsman Trophy, given annually to Mr. Irrelevant. The week also includes a parade on Balboa Island, a trip to Disneyland, and a Major League Baseball game.
The first Mr. Irrelevant "winner" was Dayton wide receiver Kelvin Kirk in '76, whom the Steelers made the 487th overall pick that year. Kirk never played in the NFL, but spent seven seasons in the Canadian Football League. Other players like former Chiefs quarterback Bill Kenney — a Dolphins draft pick — former Patriots linebacker Marty Moore, Bears fullback Jim Finn and former St. Louis Rams linebacker David Vobora went on to have relevant NFL careers.