The Browns haven’t had a winning season since 2007. In those nine seasons, they have had eight different leading passers. QB inconsistency has been one of the main reasons for Cleveland’s ineptitude, and three first-round picks have been used on quarterbacks over that span.
Heading into the 2017 season, the Browns are once again faced with three underwhelming options. Brock Osweiler is the current favorite to start, but given his early preseason play, it’s pretty obvious that the stage is set for rookie DeShone Kizer to eventually take over.
Heading into the second week of preseason, Osweiler will start for the Browns. Kizer is expected to get more work, however, with Kessler also getting in the mix.
Here are the three quarterbacks on the Browns roster according to the depth chart:
The Browns acquired Osweiler in March, in a move that largely involved the Browns eating Osweiler’s $16 million in salary. The Browns also got a valuable second-round pick in in the deal, leading some to believe Osweiler would be cut before the season began.
Not only is he still on the roster, it’s likely Osweiler will be the team’s opening day starter to open the season. Osweiler has been vocal about wanting the job, and received an endorsement from Joe Thomas last week. Still, Osweiler was uninspiring in his preseason opener, finishing 6/14 for 42 yards.
Taken with the 52nd overall pick, Kizer easily has the highest ceiling of the three rostered quarterbacks. Kizer is a little raw in his mechanics, but his 6-foot-4, 230 pound frame makes him a highly-rated prospect.
Kizer spent some time practicing with the starters during training camp, and looks primed to start the season as the team’s backup. It does, however, look like Kizer is the man of the future in Cleveland. He made a handful of exciting plays in his NFL debut, finishing the opener against the Saints 11/18 passing with 184 yards and a long TD. He may be unpolished, but the fans will likely be chanting for the Notre Dame product by midseason.
The only QB from last year’s roster, Kessler finished 0-8 in eight starts last season. He was knocked out of a few of those starts, and put up average numbers despite being constantly under pressure.
Kessler actually opened training camp as the team’s starter, but has struggled in camp. Some have even said that he regressed since his rookie season, and he’s likely to be the third starter behind Kizer. Kessler let his opportunity to seize the starting job slip away, and it might be too late for him to take it back.
Not featured: Kevin Hogan is technically on the Browns roster, but, barring injury, he is not in competition for the starting job.