Following a collegiate career that took him from Florida to Louisiana Tech, Jeff Driskel was selected in the sixth-round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers. He was waived and landed with the Cincinnati Bengals, making five starts in 2018. He came off the bench several times as well, including in a Week 12 loss to the Cleveland Browns.
Since then, he's spent time with four other teams, including the Arizona Cardinals. As a member of their practice squad, Driskel wasn't protected which allowed the Browns the opportunity to sign him to the active roster ahead of Week 18. This move was made to help replace Dorian Thompson-Robinson who went to the IR but the Browns should take advantage of a meaningless game in Week 18 and get him some reps.
Cleveland clinched a playoff spot with a win over the New York Jets and will be the fifth seed — which was decided when the Baltimore Ravens beat the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. Their opponent in the finale is Driskel's old team, the Bengals, who also have nothing to play for after they were eliminated in a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Starting Jeff Driskel goes beyond making Browns season more historical
The most obvious reason for starting Driskel is just to make this season more memorable than it already has been. Head coach Kevin Stefanski is in contention for his second Head Coach of the Year award after making the playoffs despite starting four different quarterbacks. If he makes that number five, and especially if he secures a win with all five, then that will further solidify his positioning.
Beyond that, there's something to be said for getting their backups some reps. P.J. Walker has two starts under his belt this year and played the majority of the game against Indianapolis. He also came in during the loss to Denver when DTR suffered a concussion. Driskel, however, hasn't taken a snap since 2022.
With the way injuries have gone for the Browns, getting anyone into the game they possibly can would be a wise move. Not only that, but it allows them to see how much of the playbook Driskel knows without any risk. Hopefully, they won't need to insert any backup quarterbacks but if that happens, they'd be better prepared to make a decision if they give the new guy some time.