DeShone Kizer's self-awareness goes hand in hand with his self-esteem.
The second-round rookie wrapped up his first week of OTAs with a positive attitude and optimism while maintaining some reality about his personal situation in the Browns quarterback room. In an open competition with Cody Kessler, Brock Osweiler and Kevin Hogan, Kizer realizes he has plenty to learn and experience before he can consider himself a serious contender.
It's a delicate balance for the former Notre Dame signal-caller but he came away confident after a positive first week of working with the full team.
"To compare myself to someone who is that far ahead of me would be (unfortunate) on my end because my self-esteem would go down," Kizer said. "But at the same time I'm holding myself to the same standards they are. It's all going to be an internal game with me and how I can learn.
"I look forward to going out and competing with those guys one day. For now, I'm just trying to learn as much as I possibly can."
Within 30 minutes of each other Wednesday, Kizer experienced the highs and lows of the demanding position he plays. Afterward, he analyzed each with enough savvy to avoid the emotional rollercoaster many rookies ride as they acclimate themselves to the dramatic increase in speed and talent.
Kizer was a part of one of the biggest plays of the OTA, as he dropped back, surveyed the defense and slung a 30-yard pass to Rashard Higgins, hitting the second-year wide receiver squarely in his outstretched hands.
"I was able to let one rip," Kizer said. "That's all I'm trying to do right now is get the confidence where I can let it rip all the time. That's a prime example."
The Browns participate in OTAs at the team facility in Berea.
A series or two later, Kizer misread the defense and thought he was throwing a short pass to one of his receivers only to see it easily intercepted.
"That's a part of it. I'm still trying to figure this thing out," Kizer said. "We were in a blitz period today and they were sending a couple different looks at me and I forced a ball I shouldn't have forced. I'll go back, watch film and I bet you won't see that same pick ever again. That's part of the growing process and I look forward to continuing to compete with him and continuing to have Coach (Gregg) Williams throw the kitchen sink at us and figure out how I can combat that, so that when it comes time to go out there one day, hopefully I have the right tools to be successful."
Browns coach Hue Jackson is making sure Kizer acquires those tools in an expedited, yet measured fashion.
Jackson said Monday there would be some OTAs and practices where he'd spend the bulk of his time with Kizer. It's nothing new for Jackson, who has worked with a number of young quarterbacks throughout his career, and it's been welcomed by Kizer, who said it was "exactly what I expected" after getting to know the head coach on his pre-draft visit to Berea.
Jackson said Wednesday that Kizer has responded to what can be a daunting challenge "better than some guys I have been around." Still, it's a long way until the season opener, and Kizer will be tasked with making the most of every hour he has -- whether it's on the field, in the classroom or before he goes to sleep -- until then.
"When you have the guy who's calling the plays, the guy who has created this offense—he knows the language inside and out—teaching your everyday fundamentals, it definitely pushes you a little quicker than if it was someone else who has to then go through him," Kizer said. "I'm at the top of the command in terms of the guys who are coaching me, so it's going to allow me to get out there and compete little faster than otherwise.
"You really have to understand your job and all 11 guys have to understand their job so they don't have to think as much. That's kind of my next step is understanding what I have to do so I can move as fast as they want me to."