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HOF QB’s advice for 7th round draft pick also great for all Broncos’ rookies

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“Get in the playbook and be humble.”

NCAA Football: Georgia Southern at Mississippi Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Broncos Country!

Broncos’ seventh-round draft pick Chad Kelly, who is among the rookies attending their minicamp in Dove Valley through Saturday, got some sage advice from his uncle this week - “get healthy, learn the system, be humble.”

Chad, who is still rehabbing a recovering ACL injury from last fall plus a wrist injury from his pro day this spring, was considered a round-one talent, but the injury plus several off-the-field incidents, caused the former Ole Miss quarterback to drop to the last overall pick – No. 253.

Now his uncle - the former Buffalo Bill great - is insisting Chad has learned his lesson and is taking heed of the elder Kelly’s advice:

“I told Chad, 'Don't worry about going in there and thinking you're going to compete for that starting job,'" Kelly told ESPN Thursday. "The bottom line is, you gotta go there and get healthy, learn the system and be humble.

“I said, 'Just go in there, focus on learning the playbook, focus on what it takes to be a professional and let us handle all the other stuff,’” Kelly said. “He finally gets it. I'm excited for him. I really am."

Quarterback or not, NFL-pedigree or not, Kelly’s advice to his nephew is actually perfect for all the rookies getting their first taste of NFL life this week:

  • Learn the playbook. In fact, be the playbook. No vacation time until you’ve mastered that book!
  • Be professional.
  • Be humble.

I can think of a few more (such as, “Call me for tips on how not to ruin your reputation with poor grammar, bad clichés and awful tweets”), but let’s hear your ideas.

What would be your top three pieces of advice for the rookies?

The rookie class of 2017 reported to Dove Valley Thursday, receiving their official jersey numbers and starting orientation – which coach Vance Joseph has noted will be a little different perhaps than past years.

“We’re going to have a rookie orientation, and it’s not going to be all football,” Joseph said. “It’s going to be more helping guys get acclimated to the NFL. More meetings, some lifting and some running, but not a full-scale team practice.”

This philosophy is due in part to wanting to prevent injuries to new players who are not necessarily in NFL football shape in May. A lot of the rookies come in having been training for individual speed and strength events at the Combine or non-contact plays and drills for pro days.

Jeff Heuerman, a third-round pick for the Broncos in 2015, tore his ACL on the first day of minicamp and was out for the season. Plagued by hamstring and ankle issues last year, the tight end is hoping for his first healthy season since joining the Broncos.

Joseph acknowledged that it can be tough for players to be away from playing the game for three months an then go through a full football practice their first day on the squad.

“That’s when guys get hurt,” the coach said. “So, we’re going to bring them in, have meetings, lift them and run them, but not have a full-fledged practice.”

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