The compensation for 2015 first-round pick Damarious Randall (hand) is a developmental quarterback, which is an apparent need after Brett Hundley was forced into action and more or less disappointed in 2017. Kizer himself retained the starting job in Cleveland for all but one game as a rookie last year, tossing a league-leading 22 interceptions and completing only 54 percent of his passes. Expect Kizer to compete with Hundley for the backup gig behind Aaron Rodgers this offseason.
Kizer received praise from Browns general manager John Dorsey for improving over the final month of his rookie season, Dan Labbe of The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. "What I thought was really nice was how much he improved week in and week out," Dorsey said. "And like I've always told you guys, I think a young quarterback from year one going through his rookie year, into year two, he makes exponential improvement moving forward and I would expect nothing less from him."
The Browns aren't necessarily ready to give up on Kizer, but they also don't want to be in the position of depending on him as a starter. It'll be a surprise if Cleveland doesn't use one of its two first-round picks on a quarterback, and there also are rumors that head coach Hue Jackson is still pushing for a reunion with impending free agent A.J. McCarron. Kizer's best-case scenario is a quarterback competition in which he's the underdog, while the worst-case scenario would leave him as a clear No. 3 on the depth chart. The Browns might even explore the market for trade possibilities, depending on what they intend to do at the position the next two months.
Kizer completed 16 of 30 pass attempts for 314 yards, two touchdowns and one interception Sunday against the Steelers. He also carried six times for 61 yards in the 28-24 loss.
Kizer put on a career effort as Cleveland attempted to avoid a winless season, posting career highs in both passing and rushing yardage. Most of his damage through the air came on big plays, as he completed four passes of at least 30 yards on the day, including two of at least 54. Kizer struggled at times during his rookie campaign, finishing with a putrid 11:28 touchdown-turnover ratio, but he also flashed significant upside at times. Adding to his stock as a potential fantasy asset in the future, Kizer finished the season with 358 rushing yards and five touchdowns on the ground. Despite all this, Cleveland is projected to have a pair of picks in the top-six of the 2018 NFL draft, meaning they could select one of this year's top quarterback prospects if they determine Kizer isn't their option of the future under center.
Kizer completed 18 of 36 passes for 182 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions in Sunday's 20-3 loss to the Bears. He also gained eight yards on three rushes.
The rookie's turnover issues continued, as he was picked off by Kyle Fuller at the Bears' five-yard line just before the two-minute warning in the first half and victimized a second time by Bryce Callahan with 4:21 remaining at Chicago's 37. Kizer averaged an unsightly 5.1 yards per attempt and threw multiple interceptions for the third consecutive game. Given his ongoing struggles, it remains to be seen if he'll have an opportunity to start the regular-season finale against the Steelers in Week 17.
Kizer will start Sunday's game in Chicago, Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal reports.
Browns head coach Hue Jackson sounded like he was considering a change in the immediate aftermath of Sunday's 27-10 loss to the Ravens, but he'll apparently give Kizer a shot to redeem himself against a respectable Bears defense that ranks 17th in yards allowed per pass attempt (7.1). With the possibility of a winless season staring the Browns in the face, Jackson presumably is sticking with Kizer because he doesn't think Kevin Hogan or Cody Kessler would give the team a better shot to win. It's possible, but not likely, that Jackson changes his mind ahead of a Week 17 game in Pittsburgh. As for the offseason, Kizer hasn't done nearly enough to prevent the Browns from using an early draft pick on a quarterback.
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