Name: DeShone Kizer
Pro Team: Cleveland Browns
College Team: Notre Dame
Draft Status: Round Two, Pick 52 Overall
- Height: 6’4’’
- Weight: 233 Pounds
- Hands: 9 7/8’’
- Arm Length: 33 1/2’’
- Bench Press: N/A
- 40-Yard-Dash: 4.83
- 3-Cone: 7.4
- Vertical Jump: 30 1/2”
- Broad Jump: 107”
[am4show have=’g1;’ guest_error=’sub_message’ user_error=’sub_message’ ]
Kizer has every tool to succeed as a passer. He has the arm talent one wants from a quarterback, with the ability make all the throws at every level. On tape, he showed the ability to throw a dime in between multiple defender down the field. Kizer has great pocket awareness. Pressure doesn’t faze him as he keeps his eyes down field and isn’t scared to step into an oncoming defender. While he didn’t play in a pro style system, his arm talent combined with his pocket presence gives him a very high ceiling.
Despite his subpar athletic testing scores, he is able to escape in the pocket and often showed the ability to make defenders miss in the open field. He will bring an added dimension to the Browns with his ability to do damage with his legs. In 25 career collegiate games he rushed for 997 yards and 18 touchdowns.
Kizer can make the hard things look easy and the easy things look hard. He often underthrew wide open receivers on short routes or misfired badly to a running back. His accuracy and footwork are things he must fix. At times, Kizer was lazy with mechanics and it shows in his results. In 2016, he finished with just a 58.7% completion percentage, dropping off from the 62.9% his junior year.
A lot of Kizer apologists will point to a lesser supporting cast as the reason for his play falling off, but Kizer has himself to blame on a lot of his poor throws and results. Consistency is his biggest issue. If he can play to his ceiling, he can be a big-time quarterback in the NFL. If his consistency continues to fail him, he may not last as an NFL starter.
Kizer will walk into a situation where he needs to beat out 2016 third round pick Cody Kessler. While the Browns were the worst team in the NFL last year with a 1-15 record, they did improve during the off-season. If Kizer wins the job he will play behind one of the NFL’s best offensive lines, which will be a huge help in his ability to succeed early on. Kizer should be able to lean some on the run game because of the strength of the line. Isaiah Crowell, who has shown promise the first three years of his career even if he has lacked consistency, should be the lead back in 2017.
The Browns lack much of a veteran presence besides of Kenny Britt at wide receiver, who is a newly signed member of the team. While Britt is coming off a 1,000-yard campaign with the Los Angeles Rams, one of the worst offensive teams in the NFL in 2016, he is the only top six receiver on the depth chart with more than one year of NFL experience. At tight end, the Browns drafted the explosive play maker David Njoku out of Miami, and have second year TE Seth DeValve competing with him for the starting job. The ceiling is high for these players, but tight ends often take time to develop. While the future may be bright for the weapons in Cleveland it is anyone’s guess how they may pan out.
Kizer could lose the job out of the gate to Cody Kessler and not end up seeing much playing time his rookie year. The Browns are also loaded with draft assets in 2018 with seven picks in the first four rounds, and with another potential top five pick they could look to take a quarterback out of the loaded 2018 class.
Kizer struggled when his weapons got worse in 2016 at Notre Dame and the Browns have one of the leagues least proven sets of weapons in the NFL. It could be an uphill road for Kizer to get playing time, succeed with a lesser supporting cast, and convince the Browns not to add another quarterback in 2018.
Kizer is in the midst of a training camp battle for the starting position with Cody Kessler. He is said to be “ahead of schedule” and has a real shot to beat out Kessler for the job opening the season. Kessler is the projected starter, but Kizer will have every bit the chance to earn the job and get significant playing time in year one. His year one is the most important of any of the first four quarterbacks drafted as he will have the shortest leash before his team drafts another quarterback.
Hopefully the suffering of Browns fans is over. One of the quarterbacks may reach his ceiling and become one of the better quarterbacks in the league. Kizer could become a top ten NFL quarterback with his big arm, pocket presence, and mobility. He could also go down the path of so many Browns quarterbacks before him and never reach his potential as he fights with a high draft pick the following year.
Kizer has a lot of Carson Wentz to his game – a big mobile quarterback with an ability to make defenders miss in the pocket. Like Wentz, he can make all the throws, but also like Wentz, accuracy and consistency are a major concern. Kizer doesn’t come into the NFL as polished as Carson Wentz was, but both players have similar ceilings, and Kizer’s might even be higher.
Projected Range for Rookie Drafts
Per DLF’s rookie ADP, Kizer is currently going 46th among rookies behind players such as KD Cannon and Bucky Hodges. Cannon is not currently on an NFL roster and Kizer has legitimate value here. At a relatively free price tag, his upside is worth taking advantage of.
In 2QB and superflex leagues he has even more value as there is a good chance he gets on the field in year one, and his game script and running ability can make him a year one value. Kizer may never pan out and reach his upside, but at his price he is worth taking the gamble on.