2020 NFL Draft

New Browns QB DeShone Kizer: 'The wait was well worth it'

The Browns let Day 2 of the NFL Draft fall to them.

And when they jumped on the clock Friday night at No. 52, there was Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer ready and waiting for a phone call.

"The wait was well worth it now that I'm going to be able to stay at home and call myself a Cleveland Brown," said Kizer, the Toledo native who was once widely considered a top-20 prospect.  

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But Kizer — who didn't hear his name called Thursday night at the draft in Philadelphia — has long intrigued teams with his big frame (6-foot-4, 233 pounds), big arm (completed 60 percent of his passes for 5,805 yards, 47 touchdowns) and ability to create outside of the pocket (997 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns).

"He's a big, strong quarterback who can make all of the throws that I think anybody needs to make in the National Football League," head coach Hue Jackson said. "He's intelligent. He has the characteristics that we're looking for."

Indeed, the two-year starter burst onto the scene as a redshirt freshman, when he guided the Fighting Irish to a 10-3 finish and quickly became one of college football's must-watch signal-callers. The 2016 season proved to be more challenging, as Kizer struggled at times during a 4-8 campaign that raised questions about his ability to elevate the play of those around him.

That was something Kizer took ownership of at the Combine in Indianapolis.

"As a quarterback you need to be able to be the same guy every play, every rep," he said. "Last year, I wasn't able to do that as much as I would have liked to. I think that has a lot to do with mechanics and footwork. There's a lot that goes into being a good quarterback."

In between then and now, Kizer continued to build relationships with the Browns, including Jackson and new quarterbacks coach David Lee, who helped him refine his mechanics and footwork during that span.

"I believe there is a lot of potential. I believe there is a lot of room for growth," Kizer said. "I think coaches like Coach Jackson and Coach Lee will be able to make some of these things a little more consistent."

Kizer, who joins a quarterbacks room that features Cody Kessler, Brock Osweiler and Kevin Hogan, said he met with the Browns five times during the draft process.

"Being from this area and playing right down the road at Notre Dame, I was able to already get to know those guys through the relationships I was able to create off of the field," Kizer said.

"I was able to go complete circle with those guys, get to know them and explain who I was to them."

So who is DeShone Kizer? The Browns have a pretty good idea.

"We felt like we knew him well," executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown said. "We were surprised that he was there and available to us at 52."

Jackson added: "He's very coachable. He wants to work at it, and I think that's what it's going to take. We'll find out how good this guy can be over time."


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