The Cleveland Browns fired Sashi Brown and named former Chiefs GM John Dorsey as the General Manager today. During the press conference, there were frequent references to finding a quarterback being priority #1 for the franchise.
Deshone Kizer hasn’t been good this year. He leads the league with 15 interceptions, and is averaging 5.9 yards per pass attempt.
It’s understandable that they can’t go into next year as Option 1A. That said, though, the die on Kizer is hardly cast. We know that the Browns franchise hasn’t exactly been a frontrunner in understanding the impact of age on prospects, as they once drafted a quarterback older than half the league in the first round. Here’s your reminder that DeShone Kizer is really young compared to even most rookies who start. Here are the ten youngest players since 1960 to throw at least 224 passes in a season (via pro-football-reference.com). All started their first games at age 21 and I list the date that they turned 22 years old:
Most of those guys struggled initially. Bledsoe averaged 5.8 yards per attempt and Stafford 6.0 yards per attempt. Kizer–it was widely acknowledged coming into this draft–was not ready to start and was a very young prospect that would need time. The best situation for Kizer would have been to be selected and learn behind a veteran in a good offense for a few years. Now, the Cleveland Browns are the opposite of that, and they also have run out of patience. What we do know is (1) that as a 21-year-old he was already better than three guys that are journeymen, and (2) he probably should not have been starting yet.
But as the Browns look for other options, I’ll remind that really young players can get better (it’s certainly not guaranteed). Jared Goff just missed this list because he threw 205 passes and had a mid-October birthday, but he was also very young by rookie standards. We saw what a difference a year–and some changes–made.
I’m not ruling Kizer out long term, and the next five weeks, with Josh Gordon and Corey Coleman now working as his wide receiver pairing, will give us some indication if growth is possible.