It’s grading season! The 2017 Cleveland Browns were a disaster to say the least, completing their season without earning one single win. So overall, most would give the Browns overall grade for the season an F. The team had lowered expectations, but somehow they fell below those expectations. But, the parts of the Browns were not all created equal. There are positions that performed better than others.
So, over the course of the next couple weeks, I will give out my grades for each position and their performance during the 2017 NFL season. Up first is the quarterback position.
Overall Grade: D
DeShone Kizer: D+
53.6 percent passing for 2,894 yards, 11 touchdowns and 22 interceptions; 77 attempts for 419 yards, five touchdowns and 5.4 yards per attempt
Cody Kessler: F
47.8 percent passing for 126 yards and one interception
Kevin Hogan: D
61.3 percent passing for 517 yards, four touchdowns and five interceptions; 10 attempts for 71 yards and 7.1 yards per attempt
Top Grade: DeShone Kizer
This was hard to figure out because not one of the quarterbacks was even average during the 2017 NFL season. But, I am giving DeShone Kizer the top grade of the quarterback position. Kizer finished the season completing 53.6 percent of his passes for 2,894 yards, 11 touchdowns and 22 interceptions. Kizer struggled most of the season in the same areas that he struggled with in college. He had spurts of inaccuracy that stalled or doomed drives. He made some questionable decisions that led to many of his 22 interceptions. Kizer did not show a lot of improvement from Week 1 to Week 17 and that is the disappointing part.
But, I give Kizer the top grade because he did show some glimpses of his immense physical talent. And he preserved through a tough situation, never giving up and showing the toughness to survive n 0-16 season. Hue Jackson dealt him a horrible hand through the play calling, scheme and overall treatment of the young quarterback. Another reason for Kizer receiving my top grade is that the rest of the unit was even worse. The young quarterback did not have a good season, but he played hard for 15 games through some treacherous circumstances.
Biggest Strength: Youth
Quite frankly, there is little strength to the quarterback unit. All three quarterbacks are not starting caliber quarterbacks at this point of their career. But, the strength of the unit is their youth. Kevin Hogan is the oldest signal caller on the roster, but he is only 25 years old. Cody Kessler is 24 years old, while Kizer is just 22 years old. With the youth comes more upside for improvement down the road. The players are still forming their game and are yet finished products.
Biggest Need: Franchise Starting Quarterback
The Browns need to find their franchise starting quarterback. I believe the roster currently does not hold the answer to this need. So, the Browns must use No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft to draft their franchise quarterback. There is no more punting on this situation. The Browns are in a position to pick the best quarterback of the draft with no competition from any other NFL team. This is biggest need on the team and is priority No. 1 for the Browns this offseason. John Dorsey was brought in to fill this need and find their franchise starting quarterback.
The Cleveland Browns quarterback position was a disaster in 2017. The position held back the entire offense, along with the coaching. It was the worst performing unit on the entire roster. Change is needed.
The incumbent, Cody Kessler, began the disaster by putting together a preseason to forget. He had the inside lane to win the starting job, but he punted that opportunity away with very poor play. In the snippets he played during the season, he looked like a broken quarterback, who was just not fit to be a starting quarterback and even a backup quarterback in the NFL.
DeShone Kizer was who most people saw he was in college. He had the big arm with the ability to make throws that dazzled. But, he was also inconsistent in his accuracy and at times made some head scratching decisions that make you question how well he sees the field. His season looked like many rookie quarterbacks season’s look. But, the problem was that he continually struggled on the same things throughout the whole season, showing no improvement and even some regression. I just do not believe that he is the future of the Browns quarterback position.
Kevin Hogan had his one start this season and showed who he was, not a starting quarterback. He is an athletic quarterback, but his passing is just not good enough.
Going into next season, I only see Kizer making it to training camp. I think Kessler’s horrible 2017 has doomed his future with the Browns and Hogan is just not good enough to keep on the roster. The Browns will most likely bring in two new quarterbacks this offseason. I would like to see a veteran quarterback signed or traded for and than use the No. 1 pick to get their franchise quarterback. This position is the one to watch going into the important 2018 offseason.
The Browns will have three quarterbacks on their roster for the 2018 season. Alex Smith, Josh Rosen and DeShone Kizer will make up the quarterback depth chart for next season.