Breaking down the Browns' 2017 season, position by position. We're starting with the most important in professional sports: the quarterback.*
By the numbers:
DeShone Kizer — 15 games, 15 starts; 54 percent, 2,894 yards, 11 TDs, 22 INT; 77 carries, 419 yards, 5 TDs
Kevin Hogan — 4 games, 1 start; 61 percent, 517 yards, 4 TDs, 5 INT
Cody Kessler — 3 games; 48 percent, 126 yards, 1 INT
How was 2017?
The Browns led the NFL in turnovers (41) and their quarterbacks combined for a league-high 28 interceptions. Most of those giveaways came from rookie DeShone Kizer, who went through a season of highs and lows.
Named the starter toward the end of the preseason, Kizer showed promise with his strong arm, mobility and durability. Those positives, however, were ultimately overshadowed by a propensity to turn the ball over in critical moments. Head coach Hue Jackson benched the second-round pick from Notre Dame twice at halftime and sat him for Cleveland's game against the Texans. In his place, Kevin Hogan tossed three first-half interceptions in Houston while Cody Kessler's largest chunk of playing time came in an overtime loss to the Titans the following week.
Reasons to be optimistic?Through all the ups and downs, the 22-year-old Kizer kept his composure in what he described as the most challenging experience in his young career. Kizer put together particularly strong performances against the Lions in Detroit, the Packers (before stumbling in overtime) and in the season finale against the Steelers. Considering rookie quarterbacks often make major jumps from Year 1 to Year 2, the Browns hope to continue developing Kizer's strengths and improving his weaknesses.
What might happen this offseason?While introducing new general manager John Dorsey's last month, Browns owner Jimmy Haslam emphasized Dorsey's top priority will be to find a long-term answer quarterback in Cleveland. Armed with the first and fourth overall picks in the upcoming NFL Draft, the Browns are poised to take a signal-caller early if they so choose. Notable prospects include USC's Sam Darnold and UCLA's Josh Rosen, both widely viewed as top 10 picks. The Browns could also add a veteran signal-caller in free agency or trade for one. Notable free agents include Kirk Cousins, Drew Brees, Case Keenum, Sam Bradford, Teddy Bridgewater, Ryan Fitzpatrick and RFA AJ McCarron.