Cleveland Browns rookie signal caller DeShone Kizer is someone I have been extremely high on for a very long time. He has all the physical tools to excel at the NFL level and is particularly suited to playing in the AFC North. To read my scouting report on him coming out of Notre Dame, click here.
Kizer slid to the 2nd round and was eventually selected 52nd overall by the Browns. This selection was advantageous for both the player and the organisation as expectations were muted, compared to if Kizer has been taken in the 1st round. From a fan and ownership perspective, being selected in the 2nd rather than 1st round creates a psychological shift that unburdens front office and the coaching staff from having to rush Kizer into the starting line up. However, what I am proposing is that they should do the exact opposite (!) and instead put Kizer under center early in his career.
Yes it was only Week 1 of the pre-season and granted he was playing against 2nd and 3rd team defenses, but what Kizer showcased against the New Orleans Saints is something that no-one can take away from him – the guy has a cannon of an arm and arm talent that few others in the NFL can rival. DeShone Kizer was extremely impressive s he wowed onlookers with a big arm and showed he can push the ball down the field quickly. Yet it was the little things that largely went unnoticed which were most impressive about Kizer’s performance. He displayed great pocket awareness, regularly sliding up and maneuvering around offensive linemen as the pocket collapsed around him. He was able to go through his progressions and showed great accuracy on short to mid-range throws which scouts had questioned coming out of college.
— Tom Like (@TomLikeNFL) August 11, 2017
The Cleveland Browns as an organisation are currently in full re-build and the 2017 NFL Draft went a long way towards building a future competitive team. In the 1st round alone, the Browns might just have bagged three future starters with Myles Garrett, Jabrill Peppers and David Njoku. In free agency they bolstered the offensive line which will be crucial in protecting and helping develop, whoever ends up being Cleveland’s QB of the future.
The two other current options at QB on Cleveland’s rosters are largely known commodities. Brock Osweiler has plenty of poor film for us to mull over and routinely overthrew receivers who appeared open. Cody Kessler while an accurate short to mid-range QB simply doesn’t have the arm to stress defenses and force teams to play two deep safeties opening up the running game for Isiah Crowell and screens for Duke Johnson. DeShone Kizer clearly has all the upside, however, this alone is not why the Browns MUST start Kizer early in 2017.
The 2018 NFL Draft is only 8 months away and Cleveland’s front office only has 19 guaranteed games left to evaluate the QB position. I have previously wrote about how loaded this upcoming QB draft class appears to be (click here), and the Browns being in the early stage of a franchise-overhaul will likely be picking high come April 2018. A Draft with this much potential talent at the QB position will be hard for the Browns to ignore, especially considering the amount of picks they have accumulated through trades over the past few seasons.
If Kizer is not the guy then the Browns could begin to target Darnold, Allen or Rosen and start to look to build the franchise around one of these future NFL QBs. However, if the Browns don’t start Kizer and don’t get to fully evaluate him, they could end up taking a QB high in 2018, not knowing that Kizer in fact has the higher ceiling. If he starts and excels, the Browns could take a QB in the 3rd or 4th round in 2018 to develop as insurance and instead target a future franchise MLB, lockdown No.1 Corner or game changing WR alongside other future starters with their multitude of picks.
If the Browns leave DeShone Kizer on the bench deep into the 2017 season, they are being too short-sighted. Front Office need to take a macro view at the state of the franchise and most importantly what QB whether currently on the roster or not – is most likely to help them compete and win football games in the future. I believe Kizer should begin to earn 1st and 2nd team reps and play earlier in pre-season games so he can cut his teeth against legitimate NFL starters. The Browns should also hand him the reigns early in his NFL career so they can get a very good look at whether this ultra-athletic and gifted QB has the potential to be the long-term savior the City of Cleveland has been desperate searching for.
For me, the Cleveland Browns MUST start DeShone Kizer early in his NFL career.
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