One of the most highly touted quarterback prospects from the 2017 NFL Draft will make his first start during his team’s all-important preseason Week 3 match-up.
Sorry, Chicago Bears fans. It’s not exactly who you’re hoping for.
The Cleveland Browns announced DeShone Kizer will get the starting nod over Brock Osweiler in Saturday’s preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Cleveland chose Kizer second round with the 52nd overall pick, making him the fourth quarterback selected in the draft behind Mitch Trubisky (Bears, 1-2), Patrick Mahomes (Chiefs 1-10), and Deshaun Watson (1-12). Kizer is the first quarterback from his class to be given a shot at starting. Alex Smith has a stranglehold on the Chiefs starting job, while Tom Savage was recently named the Texans’ starter by head coach Bill O’Brien.
Kizer has been impressive through two preseason games, completing 19 of 31 (61.3%) passes, throwing for 258 yards, one touchdown, no interceptions, and posting a 98.6 rating. The Notre Dame product has been behind some explosive offensive plays, connecting on four throws of 20+ yards and is the only quarterback with at least two tosses of 40+ this preseason.
Head coach Hue Jackson shared the news with his team on Wednesday, adding Kizer is “certainly positioning himself to earn the starting job” when the regular season rolls around.
“He has made a lot of progress by investing the time necessary to learn our offense, working hard to improve on his fundamentals while also effectively moving the offense in preseason games,” Jackson said in a release. “Development is so important for a young quarterback, this is the next step he needs to take and he deserves this opportunity.”
The Bears haven’t made such a proclamation regarding their starting quarterback situation, though Head Coach John Fox didn’t quite close the door on the idea of giving Trubisky first-team reps. Even still, the organization has publicly stood firm behind its plan to let Mike Glennon start and allow their top prospect to learn from the sideline. Eventually, Trubisky will take that next step in his development. A step the Browns are willing to let their rookie quarterback take sooner than some might have expected.
Like Bears coach John Fox, Jackson started the summer with a talented quarterback prospect and a highly-paid projected starter. But that’s where the similarities end as Jackson has handled the unfolding of the situation differently than Fox and the Bears. Kizer was slowly elevated up the depth chart, earning his place by playing with the kind of confidence and efficiency that led Jackson to choose the more skilled player over the one with more experience.
Clearly, the Browns aren’t afraid of the fact Kizer had just two seasons as a starter for the Fighting Irish.