In Part 1 of our QB preview for the Cleveland Browns, we looked at the top two players on the depth chart in Cody Kessler and Brock Osweiler. Now in Part 2, we look at one player who could offer serious competition (DeShone Kizer) and another who is probably just going to end up being a camp arm (Kevin Hogan).
3. DeShone Kizer - Rookie QB
Height: 6-4 | Weight: 233 lbs | Age: 21
Experience: Rookie | College: Notre Dame
Taken in the 2nd round of this year’s draft, Kizer was the 52nd overall pick. Looking at all four quarterbacks on the roster, that makes Kizer the highest pick on the team, since Osweiler was taken 57th overall back in 2012 by the Denver Broncos. Considering that no one on Cleveland’s roster has a proven track record at the position, it would not be too far-fetched to think that Kizer could climb the depth chart throughout training camp and be the team’s opening day starter.
I maintain my belief that it will be impossible for Hue Jackson to have enough time to look at all three quarterbacks in camp to the point where he can say, “this guy is undeniably better than the others.” There will be some give-and-take. Kessler will know the system the best and can have a high completion percentage, but can he push the ball downfield when the team really needs a big play? Osweiler can push the ball downfield, but is it going to be after several turnovers? Kizer has the most upside and mobility of the group, but do you want to throw him in there right off the bat, or let him get to know the system a little better first?
Zach Miller’s interview with our Notre Dame affiliate in May provided a lot of good insight into his time there. One of the running themes is that Kizer did not thrive when it was time to put the team on his back and will them to victory. That doesn’t exactly seem like a fit for a team coming off of a 1-15 season, and one that is still lacking a bit in the wide receiver department. The good news is that the Browns have the ability to curb those tendencies with good coaching. After minicamp, quarterbacks coach David Lee talked about wanting to work on the long stride that Kizer has.
“When he gets a base and shortens his stride and he steps and throws, it is a thing of beauty,” said Lee. “He has an extremely strong arm, and if we can get his fundamentals and his lower body good, you don’t touch his release. He has one of the most beautiful releases and whip in his arm.”
Kizer also has better mobility than the other quarterbacks on the team — Lee noted that he’s not the same runner that Tyrod Taylor was for him in Buffalo, but that still moves well and has the mold of being an AFC North quarterback.
One of the final quotes from Lee? “He's just a long way from being ready.” I don’t view that as a long-term negative, but I think it leans the team more in the direction of having Kizer be a backup to start the year.
Final Roster Odds: 100%
4. Kevin Hogan - Mobile Wonder QB
Height: 6-3 | Weight: 218 lbs | Age: 24
Experience: 2 years | College: Stanford
A 5th round pick by the Kansas City Chiefs in 2016, Hogan didn’t make their roster out of training camp and was signed to the Browns’ practice squad. In October, he was called up to the active roster as he was forced to be the backup to Cody Kessler due to injuries at the position. When Kessler also suffered an injury against the Bengals, Hogan was forced into action (although he was already rotating snaps with Kessler that game for strategic purposes).
That game was our first glimpse at Hogan, and from a passing perspective, he wasn't very impressive. He completed 12-of-24 passes for 100 yards and 2 interceptions. What caught everyone off guard was his mobility, as he ran 7 times for 104 yards and 1 touchdown out of the read-option. A lot of that (in my opinion) had to do with some awful play or stubbornness by the Bengals’ defense that day, as Hogan is not exactly The Freeze. But it was still a sight to see.
The problem with Hogan is that his delivery as a passer was probably the longest I’ve ever seen in an NFL game. It’s something that will never allow him to be a starting quarterback, and probably not even a dependable backup. I’m sure he knows this and has worked diligently on it all offseason, so it’ll be interesting to see how much he’s improved his motion in 2017. If the Browns end up dealing Osweiler to another club, Hogan can serve as a third quarterback and a read-option gadget if Hue Jackson is still interested in digging in to that bag of tricks.
Final Roster Odds: 15%
In Part 1 of our poll, we tried to isolate the results down to a competition between Kessler and Osweiler only. This poll incorporates all three quarterbacks -- if you had to stake money on the Browns’ Week 1 starter, who would it be?
Who do you think will be the Browns’ Week 1 starter?
This poll is closed