Buffalo Bills: 15 best first-round draft picks of all-time

Jim Kelly, Buffalo Bills. Mandatory Credit: Rick Stewart /Allsport
Jim Kelly, Buffalo Bills. Mandatory Credit: Rick Stewart /Allsport /
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Jim Kelly, Buffalo Bills
Jim Kelly, Buffalo Bills. Mandatory Credit: Rick Stewart /Allsport /

It was hard to put Jim Kelly at No. 2, given that he means so much to the Bills franchise. But we’ve got another guy that might be a tad more worthy of the No. 1 spot here in a bit. So here we go. The Bills took Kelly No. 14 overall out of Miami in the famous quarterback draft of 1983 and it certainly worked out, but not right away.

Kelly refused to play for the Bills after being drafted. Buffalo was then the worst run franchise in the AFC. He opted to play in the USFL for the Houston Gamblers, where he dominated the league as MVP in 1984. That was just the beginning of his professional football excellence. His tenure with the Bills was simply unforgettable.

Kelly would finally arrive in Western New York in 1986 as a 26-year-old rookie. He would spend his entire NFL career with the Bills for the next 11 seasons. Kelly would make five trips to the Pro Bowl, earning All-Pro honors in 1991.

He was the strong-armed signal caller that brought the K-Gun to life in Buffalo. Kelly was obviously the starting quarterback that led the Bills to four straight Super Bowl appearances.

He would retire after the 1996 NFL season. In his NFL career, Kelly would go 101-59 in 160 games as a starter, completing 60.1 percent of his passes for 35,467 yards, 237 touchdowns and 175 interceptions.

Kelly averaged 7.4 yards per attempt and had a career quarterbacking rating of 84.4. His No. 12 jersey is retired by the Bills. Kelly earned Canton enshrinement in 2002. His classmates include head coach George Allen, defensive lineman Dan Hampton and wide receiver John Stallworth.