When the Cleveland Browns selected Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer with pick No. 52 in the 2017 NFL Draft, some were happy while others thought him to be another name to put on the back of the long list of quarterbacks who have started for the Browns since 1999. While some disagreed on just how good Kizer can be in the NFL, everyone seems to agree that the rookie quarterback is raw and will need plenty of experience – both on (fixing his footwork, etc.) and off (learning the playbook, etc.) the field – before he can potentially make a name for himself on football’s biggest stage.
While talking on 92.3 The Fan’s “The Ken Carmen Show with Anthony Lima”, Executive Vice President of Football Operations Sashi Brown mentioned the ideal is that Kizer would not be the Week 1 starter nor forced into action during his rookie season. The team would rather Cody Kessler, Brock Osweiler, or even Kevin Hogan in 2017. Here’s the full audio, along with the quote:
“Ideally we’d be able to come in and give DeShone some time, and again, Hue [Jackson] talked about this. .. making sure he understands that he doesn’t feel like he has to have the pressure on him to be the week one starter or even the 2017 starter at some point. We like Cody, we like Brock, we like Kevin and he doesn’t need to feel that pressure.”
Brown doesn’t want to force Kizer into action, and would rather give him time to be NFL-ready and learn and develop under head coach Hue Jackson. He also admitted that Cleveland is still in search of a gunslinger who can start behind center for the foreseeable future. Obviously, Kizer could be that guy, but we won’t know that for a few years. Besides the rookie, Brown doesn’t seem to have much confidence that Kessler, Osweiler, or Hogan will be that guy.
“We won’t rest until we solidify that position. It’s not solidified right now, so we know we need the guys here to work their tails off, and Hue is going to develop them as much as possible and push them to be their best and we also know that until we get it solidified, we’re going to continue looking for players all over the league and in college. That may be in next year’s draft, it may be in free agency, it may be via trade. But again, Brock, Cody and Kevin are here working hard, and we’re going to support them as best we can.”
For the Browns and Dawg Pound faithful alike, the perfect scenario would be that one of the four quarterbacks on the roster can be the franchise quarterback the team has been in search of since 1999. But, if it’s not Kizer, the front office and coaching staff don’t seem to have faith it will be from the other three.
The Browns have now taken 10 quarterbacks in the NFL draft, including Kizer. The only one not to start at some point during their rookie season? Brady Quinn in 2007 (yes, even Spergon Wynn started a game his rookie year). Keep in mind, Quinn was the one who said that Kizer could be the 2017 version of Dallas Cowboys’ Dak Prescott. Quinn played in just one game during his first season in the NFL after a holdout into August forced head coach Romeo Crennel to flip a coin between Derek Anderson and Charlie Frye- before trading Frye the day after a Week 1 game he started.
Could Kizer join Quinn as the only Browns quarterbacks since 1999 to not start during their rookie season? Only time will tell.