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Mr. Irrelevant could soon be anything but in Denver

Chad Kelly was Mr. Irrelevant of the 2017 NFL Draft, but now it looks like he might end up as a future starting quarterback in Denver.

For the first time in three years, the Broncos have known for months who they’ll starting quarterback will be. But there’s an unlikely competition for the No. 2 spot, and the guy taken last in the 2017 draft has a real chance to win it.

Chad Kelly, low-level seventh-rounder, could actually beat out 2016 first-round pick Paxton Lynch to be the understudy to Case Keenum. Kelly helped his case during a Sunday scrimmage.

“Chad looked good,” coach Vance Joseph told reporters. “I think he threw two touchdowns within five plays. Yeah, he looked good.”

Joseph said Kelly has yet to get any practice reps with the second-team offense, but Joseph didn’t rule it out.

“It could happen in the future,” Joseph said. “He’s a playmaker. He’s always been a playmaker. You watch his college tape two years ago, he just makes plays. It doesn’t always look pretty, but he just makes plays.”

Does Kelly think he deserves reps with the second offense?

“No, I just have to keep on performing to the best of my ability,” Kelly told reporters. “Go out there and try to execute whatever play call is called, find the open guy and bring my team down the field. Whether it’s with the ones, twos or threes, I’m focused on trying to get better in the classroom and out here on the football field.”

On the field, Kelly is simply trying to win over his teammates.

“[Quarterbacks] Coach [Mike] Sullivan preaches, ‘You’ve got to market yourself in the huddle,’” Kelly said. “‘You’ve got to go in there confident, you’ve got to go in there making sure those guys have a sense of urgency of completing this play and doing well during the play, and everybody’s doing their jobs.’”

So what does he plan to do as he stakes a claim for the backup job as the preseason begins?

“Just keep completing the football, making great decisions with the ball in my hands, making sure we end every drive ends in a kick -- whether it’s an extra point, a punt or a field goal,” Kelly said. “I’m excited for this opportunity. A lot of these guys are excited to get out there and have fun. We haven’t played football in a year -- myself two years -- so it’ll be fun to get out there with those guys and execute.”

With Keenum only under contract for two years, Kelly could end up being the future of the position for the Broncos, cementing the connection between Hall of Famer John Elway, who drafted Kelly, and Kelly’s uncle, Hall of Famer Jim Kelly.