When should DeShone Kizer start for the Browns?

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May 24, 2017; Berea, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback DeShone Kizer (7) throws a pass during organized team activities at the Cleveland Browns training facility. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Entering the 2017 Draft, the Browns were a team that were scouting for a quarterback. There were even rumors that they would trade up for Trubisky if they didn’t take him with the first pick, so when the first round passed and Cleveland still didn’t draft a quarterback some fans were puzzled.

Cleveland finally got their quarterback with the 52nd pick in the NFL Draft. From our writeup on Kizer after the draft:

Kizer stands at 6’4’’ and weighs 233 pounds, a nice healthy size for an AFC North quarterback. He’s known to have quick movement in the open field, though he struggles with footwork in the pocket. Hue Jackson likes his arm strength and coachability and that in part warranted the pick. Kizer’s biggest strength is his ability to run the play action. When running the play action in college, Kizer amounted a passer rating of 154.7, the best in the nation.

Kizer has been some pretty big splashes in the offseason, with some fans already clamoring for a Kizer start Week 1. It would certainly be more entertaining to watch than a potential Brock Osweiler start. It will likely depend of the preseason performance of Kessler, Kizer and Osweiler, but at this point it feels like Cody Kessler will get the chance to start for the Browns in the opening game against the Steelers.

So when should DeShone Kizer make his appearance?

If you look at the schedule for the Browns, there is a clear opening for a rookie quarterback to enter. The Browns head to London in Week 8 to take on the Vikings and following that game they have a Week 9 bye, right in the middle of the season. Following that bye week they head to Detroit to take on the Lions.


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That game against Detroit feels like the best spot for DeShone Kizer to make his NFL regular season debut as a starting quarterback. The Browns would be coming off a bye week and heading on the road to face (what will likely be a very beatable) Detroit Lions team. By that point, Kizer will have had the offseason and half of the regular season to develop and adapt to the Cleveland offense.

If the Browns were committed to Kizer long term, it may be best to not start him at all this season, but the situation is complicated by the upcoming crop of quarterbacks in the draft. The Browns have to find out what they have in the young rookie, because it will likely drastically alter the Cleveland draft strategy.

Cody Kessler had a solid rookie year, but he didn’t show that franchise quarterback potential. That’s not saying he couldn’t turn into one; for all anybody knows Cody Kessler will come out and stun the football world against the Steelers. That said, Kessler seems like he’s going to be a solid backup quarterback but not much more for the Browns unless he takes some serious strides.

Assuming Brock Osweiler is not a serious starting quarterback for the Browns (an assumption that may or may not hold up as the regular season draws closer) Kizer should probably see some snaps as a starter this season. If Kessler stays healthy for the first half of the season and doesn’t play exceptionally, it seems likely that Kizer is going to start a game coming out of the bye week.

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