The final game of the preseason is finally here, and the Cleveland Browns are looking to use this game to continue to develop the young talent on this team. It’s perhaps the most irrelevant preseason game, and starters normally aren’t in past the first half.
With that said, here are some players to watch:
UPDATE: Cody Kessler will start the game and Kevin Hogan will play backup. Kizer likely won’t see the field.
Perhaps the most prevalent young talent that still needs developing is rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer, whom the Browns have committed to as their season starter. Though he’s struggled a bit in the preseason, there is no question that Kizer has outperformed the other quarterbacks on this roster.
The Browns mostly need Kizer to not make mistakes in this game. He doesn’t have to do much, but if he can avoid sacks and not throw any interception he’ll show that he’s making progress in this system. With a great offensive line and a solid running game, if the Browns get quarterback play that’s not considered a liability they will be in much better shape than last year.
If Kizer gets out of tonight mistake free, he’ll be in good shape for the start of the regular season.
Njoku was one of the Browns first three draft picks, and he’s underperformed in both practice and games to this point in the season.
How the 1st round rookie tight ends have stacked up so far pic.twitter.com/Bvy6QuH6CI
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) August 31, 2017
Njoku has been outperformed by both Howard and Engram to this point in their young careers. While the other two have better offenses around them, the Browns need Njoku to step up and start making strides to be the starting tight end that they need him to be.
There’s no question he has the skill set; he’s one of the most athletic players in all of football. With that said, he’s young and playing one of the most complex positions in the league, so a slow start was almost expected.
If the Browns can better integrate Njoku into their offense, they’ll be better prepared for moving the ball in the regular season. With a dearth of receiving talent, the Browns need Njoku to step up.
Schobert has stolen the show defensively for the Browns this preseason. He’s been making plays all over the field and is rapidly emerging as a rising star for this Browns defense.
Schobert has been a force in the run game this preseason pic.twitter.com/J6qVETawHS
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) August 30, 2017
If Schobert can continue his rise and cement his role as an NFL caliber starter, the Browns will have a young centerpiece to their defense they can be confident about.
Injury Update: Giants’ WR Brandon Marshall, back at practice
Depending on how things go, this could very likely be the last game Osweiler plays as a Cleveland Brown. While he has outperformed Cody Kessler so far, he is a much more expensive backup quarterback.
If the Browns can’t get a trade deal done, they will either cut him or hold him on the roster while they wait for a team to get desperate enough to trade for him.
There are rumors that Cody Kessler is currently on the roster bubble, but if the Browns are shopping Osweiler they will likely keep Kessler as a backup for Kizer and Hogan behind them both.
Kessler has the edge over Osweiler because of the cost associated with him and the playing experience in this Browns offense. Though he didn’t play too much last season, Kessler does have regular season experience in a Browns uniform and statistically proved more efficient than Osweiler in that limited play time.