When the Browns drafted DeShone Kizer as the 52nd pick in this year’s draft, it seemed like we could be getting a bargain. His performance against the New Orleans Saints in the preseason opener appeared to take away any doubts that the powers that be made a good choice. In a game filled with mediocrity and plenty of plays that were almost (but not quite) impactful, Kizer capitalized on the opportunity to shine. The Browns faithful fans responded with characteristic jubilation and Kizer is the toast of the town, for now.
Kizer could become very much at home here in Cleveland. He is a native Ohioan from Toledo. During his years of high school football at Toledo Central Catholic, Kizer was a standout player and dubbed the most talented quarterback that Toledo had ever produced.
In his short tenure at The University of Notre Dame, Kizer stepped into the starting quarterback role as a red shirt freshman following a season-ending injury to Irish quarterback, Malik Zaire. In the 2015 season, Kizer put up more than respectable numbers throwing for over 2,800 yards and netting a completion rate of 63%. The 2016 season echoed Kizer’s previous season behind center with 2,705 passing yards and a completion percentage of 59.3. Overall, the Irish struggled as a team with a 4-8 record and Kizer was advised to declare for the 2017 NFL Draft.
He was projected as a first or second round pick and received praise for his strong arm, body size and his ability to be a two-way threat in the red-zone. And he was criticized for his hesitancy, ability to read plays and his reliance on his arm strength.
The bottom line on Kizer is that he is a strong, competent 21-year old who will most likely evolve into an excellent NFL quarterback. Is he the franchise quarterback that will lead the Cleveland Browns to the Lombardi Trophy? It is a little too soon to make that jump, but I’ll remain cautiously optimistic about Kizer for the moment; ultimately time will tell.
Follow Senior Writer, Shelley Harcar on Twitter @Shelley0514
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