The Browns selected the Notre Dame signal caller in the second round Friday night, ending the drama of how and when the Browns would address their current quarterback situation. The selection of Kizer provides the potential to be a great value pick as he was the fourth player selected by the Browns in the 2017 draft. The pressure to be the guy and save the franchise will not be the same as if the team opted to take Mitch Trubisky at No.1.
Entering the 2016 season, Kizer won the starting job at Notre Dame over Malik Zaire. The Kizer preseason hype was real as he was coming off a sophomore season in which he played a majority of the season when he took over for the injured Zaire.
In the season opener, No. 10 ranked Notre Dame traveled to Austin, to play Texas. The national hype and attention wasn’t too much for Kizer as he threw for 215 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions in a thrilling double-overtime 50-47 loss for the Irish.
Following the game, experts were labeling Kizer as one of the top prospects in the country and that he contained the most NFL-ready play style. Experts believed he could challenge Deshaun Watson to be the top quarterback selected in the draft. Following the opener, Notre Dame’s season spiraled into a tail spin, losing three of the first four games.
In a loss to Stanford, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly benched Kizer in the third quarter in favor of Zaire. Kizer would regain his starting job the following week but the quarterback’s confidence and the Notre Dame offense was struggling. The Fighting Irish finished with a 4-8 record which cooled a lot of the Kizer hype. On the season, Kizer completed 58.7 percent of his passes for 2,925 yards, 26 touchdowns and nine interceptions in 12 starts.
Related: Browns select DeShone Kizer
After the season it was expected that the Notre Dame signal caller would return for his senior season to improve upon an all-around disappointing season. However, Kizer didn’t feel like the guidance under Brian Kelly would benefit him and he declared for the draft. Scouts and draft experts believed Kizer needed to return to school and improve his game.
However, there is a lot of upside to the selection of Kizer. The quarterback has the ideal size and strength needed to play in the tough AFC North division. His size measures favorably to opposing quarterbacks in Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Flacco, and Andy Dalton.
Kizer stands in at 6-foot-4, 222 pounds. Kizer has a strong arm that is capable of making tough throws to every level of the field. His radar velocity was measured at 56 mph, which is considered above average for NFL standards. He is also an above average athlete and runner. He had 18 rushing touchdowns in his two seasons at Notre Dame.
In 2017, Kizer will be asked to come in and work his tail off. Entering a quarterback room with another young quarterback in Cody Kessler and a veteran in Brock Osweiler, there will be intense competition amongst the group. Kizer will become the Hue Jackson’s latest quarterback project who has the upside to become a very solid NFL quarterback.
The youngster has a steep learning curve ahead of him regarding the NFL quarterback position. Expect him to sit, learn and continue work out the flaws of his game this upcoming season. If DeShone Kizer reaches his potential the Browns will have hit a draft home run.