Former Notre Dame quarterback Deshone Kizer may have fallen to the 2nd round of the NFL Draft and may have been 3rd on the Browns depth chart heading into their pre-season opener Thursday night, but he did not play like a #3 QB at all. No sir, Deshone Kizer put on a show in his NFL preseason debut for the quarterback starved Cleveland Browns.
Kizer entered the game in the second half after Brock Osweiler started the game and Cody Kessler finished out the first half. The two combined to score a total of 7 points against the Saints – a team not known for their defensive prowess. Kizer played the 2nd half and led the Browns to 13 points including the game winning touchdown with less than two minutes to go.
Before the game winning score, Kizer uncorked this 52 yard bomb that came up just short of being a touchdown. Terrence Magee punched in the score from a yard out though.
.@DKizer_14 going DEEEEEEP.
— NFL (@NFL) August 11, 2017
From that point on, Kizer was locked in. Then there was the 45 yard game winning touchdown thrown with the blitz descending on him on 4th and 2.
— NFL (@NFL) August 11, 2017
Kizer finished the game 11 of 18 for 184 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions playing the entire 2nd half of the game. Now, you could argue that it’s meaningless since he was playing against the 3rd team defense, but remember, he was also throwing to reserve wide receivers who are unlikely to make the roster and getting protected by reserve linemen fighting for roster spots and spots on the practice squad.
He wasn’t flawless. Some of the issues that plagued his time at Notre Dame were still there tonight. He held onto the ball too long at times resulting in some unnecessary sacks, but he also showed off enough potential to give the Browns every reason to continue to give him more snaps in practice and accelerate his development.
Notre Dame could really use Kizer to become a NFL star too. The Irish have not produced a Pro Bowl quarterback since Steve Beuerlein. Notre Dame has produced one of the NFL’s best lineman – Zack Martin – and one of it’s best safeties – Harrison Smith. Kyle Rudolph and Tyler Eifert could become elite NFL tight ends as well if they are able to stay healthy. The more positions that Notre Dame has former players staring in the NFL the better as recruits with NFL aspirations look at that.
This was just the first preseason game, but it was still a more than impressive debut for Kizer especially considering the miserable luck the Browns have had at the quarterback position for the last 30 years.
The Browns don’t play again until August 21 so Cleveland head coach Hue Jackson will have some time to figure out what he is going to do with his depth chart. Osweiler and Kessler are what they are, but they will have to decide if they would rather go the route of letting Kizer sit in 2017 and develop before throwing him into the fire and letting him learn on the fly. If Kizer keeps playing this preseason like he did tonight, he might force their hand.