On Sunday, Rod Bluhm and I talked with Emory Hunt about everything we possibly could while he was experiencing the NFL combine for the first time. Emory is a color commentator, the Czar of the Playbook. He is CEO/Founder & Analyst at Football Gameplan and author of Football: A Love Story, What Did Football Teach Me, and Stiff-Arming Football Myths. He gave us easily the hottest take we’ve heard about how the Browns should handle their Quarterback situation and their early picks in the 2018 Draft.
Emory presented that DeShone Kizer could be just like Jared Goff and that the Browns could simply bank on him developing just like Jared Goff did in his second season. Goff’s rookie season was pretty abysmal and Hunt even said “possibly worse than Kizer’s”. When the Rams decided on consistency and trusting the growth process with the 6’4” slinger out of Cal, they placed the pieces around him to “cut out all the bad decisions” as Hunt put it. Goff had a weak armory of weapons to work with along with being a rookie and the mistakes that come with that. That’s the same situation Kizer found himself in during the 2017 season. However, when Sean McVay altered the Rams attack by utilizing Tavon Austin as a backfiled threat, added Robert Woods and Sammy Watkins — to go with a healthy Todd Gurley, Jared Goff became a stunningly better QB.
Emory knew what he was talking about last year when he went on record saying that the Browns should find a way to draft both Deshaun Watson and Leonard Fournette over Myles Garrett. We certainly wouldn’t be having the draft conversations we are having this year if last year’s draft went that way. We’d be talking about Bradley Chubb or Minkah Fitzpatrick a lot more. He also had Kizer as his 3rd-highest rated QB overall. He believes that he can still play to that level and can be a baller for the Browns if they were to do what the Rams did last year — take all the bad decisions away from him and plug in only good options in every direction for him. Emory could be right again this year and we just haven’t given much thought to this scenario!
At the end of the day, it sounds like if the decision was up to Emory, he would confidently roll with DeShone Kizer (who is now a “veteran” and 22 years old) as the starter for the 2018 season. He would use that #1 overall pick on top prospect Saquon Barkley and find the best option of the limitless possibilities they’d have with the #4 overall pick. That could be staying at the four and taking Bradley Chubb or Minkah Fitzpatrick. It could be trading with the Dolphins for the #11 pick overall and Jarvis Landry, or the Cardinals at #15 and taking a top wide-out there. It could also mean trading for both of the Bills first-round picks. There are more options out there still.
After our conversation with Emory, Rod and I kept talking off the air about his perspective and just how mind-blowing it was. What if DeShone Kizer is Jared Goff?
In 2016, Jared Goff played in seven games in which he threw 1,089 yards for 5 touchdowns, 7 interceptions and lost 5 fumbles. In 2017, DeShone Kizer threw 2,894 yards for 11 touchdowns to go with 22 interceptions in 15 games played. He fumbled 6 times, but added 5 scores with his legs during the season on 419 yards rushing. That sounds like a whole lot of interceptions for Kizer, but what could have been if Goff played that many games his rookie season?
Now let’s turn to what Goff did in his sophomore year in the NFL with a plethora of great weapons placed around him: 3,804 yards passing, 28 passing touchdowns, 1 rush touchdown, 8 fumbles and 7 interceptions in 15 games starting. That’s a remarkable difference and incredible progress in one year. John Dorsey praised Kizer for his progressive play and resiliency on the back end of the year, and Todd Haley liked him coming out of college — could it be that our own 6’4” signal caller could turn it around as quick as Goff when the Browns put more weapons around him? Goff wasn’t ready his rookie season and he was placed in a bad system. As the Browns change their system, allow Kizer to grow from his rookie mistakes, and put possible pieces like Barkley, Landry/Allen Robinson, Duke Johnson, Josh Gordon etc. around him to eliminate any bad offensive decisions, perhaps Kizer can develop into quite the adequate starting QB.
This is a “shock-the-world” kind of take after a 0-16 season and possessing the top pick in the draft, but one that Browns fans should truly consider as a possibility. This move really did work for the terribly struggling Rams and we see how quickly they became a force to be reckoned with and a great playoff team. If you put trust, build confidence, give a second chance (like we did Hue), and dynamic playmakers around Kizer to make his job easier, we could really have something . . . and this draft could very much so be our oyster!
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