Training camp is still six weeks away as the Cleveland Browns concluded their mini-camp last week. One of the biggest takeaways is the Browns have a quarterback competition again; just like every offseason since 1999. This time around, it is between second-year quarterback Cody Kessler, rookie DeShone Kizer, and veteran Brock Osweiler.
While Kessler was originally named the starter prior to OTAs and Osweiler wants people to watch his film from 2016, Kizer seems to be climbing the ranks faster than most expected. In fact, head coach Hue Jackson admitted that he’s emerging as an option for Week 1 this fall if he continues to learn the NFL game, both on and off the field, per cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot.
“We already have some capable guys here in Brock and Cody, and we want to see if (Kizer) can compete with those guys. Obviously, there are some things he does really well, and there are some things where he’s still a young quarterback. He’s still learning, but he’s emerging. I do believe that. We’ll see how this all unfolds.”
At 6-foot-4, 233 pounds, Kizer has the ideal size of a franchise quarterback. The biggest problem is that his footwork is inconsistent, which leads to unwarranted mistakes. Although he seems to be studying the playbook when he’s not practicing, eating, or sleeping, the former Notre Dame quarterback still has plenty to learn. Luckily for the Browns, Kizer knows that and his doing his best to learn everything as fast as possible.
Jackson has a good history of getting rookie quarterbacks ready to start their rookie season, and Kizer may just be the next one to do the same. During OTAs, both Kessler and Kizer received reps with the first-team offense while Osweiler was mainly with the second-team. That right there says all you need to know about who has the top spots in the competition. Now, it’s all up to Kizer to see if he can improve his game in time for training camp, where he can impress the coaches again and maybe earn the starting nod for the season opener.
Sashi Brown admitted that he doesn’t want Jackson or the team to rush Kizer, but at this point, the team may have no choice. He may still need to develop his game, but they have to give the ball to the quarterback that gives them the best chance to win week and week out.
Just last week, quarterbacks coach David Lee raved about his rookie quarterback, and it seems as though Jackson has followed suit. To say that he made an impression during the short minicamp would be an understatement. Kizer has the chance to be the 27th quarterback to start behind center since 1999, and it may just happen sooner than many expected.