Browns Trade DeShone Kizer to Packers

Written by Cody Benjamin at CBS Sports.com

Acquiring Tyrod Taylor and Jarvis Landry in one day was not enough for the Cleveland Browns.

(Read that again, and try to do so without squinting.)

Minutes after they reportedly agreed to trades for two of the AFC East’s most prominent players, the NFL’s worst team-turned-offseason sensation got busy with another transaction, this one a deal for former Green Bay Packers first-round draft pick Damarious Randall. And in the deal, they’ll be shipping 2017 second-round pick DeShone Kizer to Green Bay. The teams will also be flipping Day 3 picks:

As ESPN’s Adam Schefter said on Twitter Friday, a full five days before trades can become official and 2018 free agency begins, the Packers have informed Randall, who intercepted a career-high four passes in 2017, that he’s been traded to Cleveland.

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Browns Looking To Trade Osweiler, Kizer Will Start

Written by Pat McManamon at ESPN.com

The Cleveland Browns, after naming rookie DeShone Kizer the starting quarterback for their third preseason game, have renewed their attempt to trade veteran Brock Osweiler, a league source tells ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.

Browns coach Hue Jackson named Kizer the starter for Saturday’s preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a statement released Wednesday morning, saying the former Notre Dame signal-caller is “certainly positioning himself well to earn the starting job heading into the regular season.”

“I think he’s gotten better each and every week,” Jackson said later Wednesday. “He’s showing the characteristics that I look for in a quarterback.”

Osweiler, who is due a guaranteed salary of $16 million for 2017, is not expected to play Saturday, Jackson confirmed.

Asked whether he would ask for a trade, Osweiler told ESPN, “That’s something I’m going to stay away from.”

“I’ve told you guys all along, I’m always going to just focus on the things that I can control,” Osweiler said. “Right now, that’s being a great teammate, that’s continuing to prepare, be a pro, stay in the playbook and continue to strive to be a better player every day.

“Our general manager and our head coach, they decide who plays and how much they play. As players, all we can do is make the most of the opportunity.”

Asked what would have to happen for him to win the job, his response was, “I think that’s a great question for our general manager.”

When asked about Osweiler’s reference to GM Sashi Brown, Jackson said, “It’s my decision. I don’t know where that came from.”

Jackson said he had a “great conversation” with Osweiler on Wednesday morning and that the quarterback “is doing a good job.

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DeShone Kizer Killing It For The Browns

Written by Jared Dubin at CBS Sports.com

It’s not often that we’re writing exciting things about the Cleveland Browns’ quarterback position here at CBSSports.com. Thursday evening, that changed, thanks to rookie DeShone Kizer.

Kizer didn’t get the start against the Saints in Cleveland’s preseason opener. That honor went to Brock Osweiler, who promptly came out and looked very much like Brock Osweiler.(6-of-14, 42 yards). Kizer wasn’t even the primary backup. That was Cody Kessler, who went 5-of-10 for 47 yards.

Kizer bested both of them on one play, a 52-yard bomb to street free agent Richard Mullaney.

Wooooooo boy.

That play right there shows you why Kizer was a contender for the No. 1 overall pick for about half the college football season. (He eventually went in the second round after he and Notre Dame struggled down the stretch.) He shows maneuverability in the pocket, keeps his eyes straight down the field, and uncorks a gorgeous throw to hit his man right in stride. It goes down as a 52-yard pass play but the ball traveled about 60 yards in the air because Kizer was deep in the pocket when he let it go.

Later in the second half, Kizer did it again, this time unleashing a 45-yard strike to Jordan Payton, again down the left sideline and against fairly heavy pressure.

Kizer certainly has the highest upside among the QB options in Browns camp this year, and if he keeps making plays like this during the preseason, they might even give him a real shot at the job when the season starts.

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QB Battles To Watch This Preseason

Written by Chris Burke at SI.com

Generally speaking, holding a quarterback competition in August is a bad place for an NFL team to be. There are some exceptions to the rule, like if said team is gauging a rookie’s progress or—very rare—two excellent QBs are fighting for one spot.

The majority of the league’s starting quarterbacks appear to be settled, with the preseason set to begin in full next week, but a few jobs remain open.

A primer on 10 potential battles for training camp, and beyond:

DENVER: TREVOR SIEMIAN VS. PAXTON LYNCH

The Broncos’ first padded practice last week led to this QB review from new coach Vance Joseph: “Did I like what I saw? Not really. Both guys had issues today.”

A hiccup here or there in late July (up against the Broncos’ vaunted defense, no less) hardly is reason to push the panic button. However, with both Siemian and Lynch enduring their ups and downs, this battle is set up to drag deep into August.

Siemian was a 14-game starter for the Broncos last season, following a Super Bowl 50 win and Peyton Manning’s retirement. He threw for 3,801 yards, 18 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, while the Denver offense struggled to shift out of neutral. In his two starts, Lynch completed 59.3% of his passes, for 327 yards, one TD and one INT.

CLEVELAND: CODY KESSLER VS. DESHONE KIZER VS. BROCK OSWEILER

Assuming Osweiler has not made significant improvements to his game since OTAs last month, him claiming the starting gig would mean both Kessler and Kizer scuffled through a disappointing August. The Browns have maintained that Osweiler is part of the competition (and he’s starting the first preseason game), but it seems clear that the preference is either for Kessler to hold onto his No. 1 job or for the rookie Kizer to go steal it.

“[Kessler’s] still the guy who demonstrates knowing the offense the best,’’ Cleveland coach Hue Jackson in late July, per Cleveland.com. “He’s the guy that has played the most football for us in that group, and I think he deserves a chance to walk out there first.”

Kizer did work his way into first-team reps during OTAs, and he has done so again early in camp. It’s a safe bet, for the moment, that Kessler gets the starting nod when Cleveland begins its preseason schedule on Aug. 10, but the rotation on Aug. 21 (Giants) and Aug. 26 (Bucs) will clear up the picture further.

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DeShone Kizer Criticized For Lack Of Motivation

Written by Ryan Wilson at CBSSports.com

You know the NFL Draft is nigh when the anonymous critics redouble their efforts. And here we are. With the offseason spectacle just days away, an unnamed scout has weighed in on one of the draft’s top quarterback prospects, former Notre Dame standout DeShone Kizer.

“He’s a pure millennial,” the scout told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel‘s Bob McGinn. “He’s caught up in being more of a quarterback image than being a quarterback. If he goes to the right spot with the right coach, he’ll ascend. They’re going to have to get him to focus on football. I honestly think this guy would do better in a small market. If he goes to a big market he’ll enjoy everything else that comes with the position. The one position in the building you don’t want to worry about whether he’s going to be focused on football is quarterback.”

To be fair, every draft-eligible player is a millennial because they were born in the mid-1990s. Semantics aside, the general on-field knock on Kizer is that he struggles with consistency and there are concerns on how that will translate to the NFL. CBSSports.com’s Rob Rang ranks Kizer No. 3 among quarterbacks, behind UNC’s Mitchell Trubisky and Clemson’s Deshaun Watson, both of whom could be among the top-10 picks.

Who knows if Kizer, as the anonymous scout suggested, would indeed benefit from playing in a small market. You could probably make that argument for a lot of players. Either way, perhaps a small market is in his future. Several weeks ago, while talking about the quarterback class — and specifically how Trubisky’s one year as a starter in college was problematic — Cardinals coach Bruce Arians, without naming names, hinted that only one quarterback is ready to start as a rookie.

“All the rest, there are some really talented arms that need a year of learning how to play the position especially at this level,” he said. “If you’re plug-and-play then this draft is very small, but if you have time to bring them along, then this draft is large because the talent level is there.”

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QB Prospects Still Jockeying For Positioning In NFL Draft

Written by Jeff Legwold at ESPN.com

The quarterbacks in the 2017 NFL draft class have heard the naysayers.

If teams are looking for a sure thing at the top of the draft — say a Terry Bradshaw, John Elway, Peyton Manning or Andrew Luck — it’s probably not happening this year.

But don’t tell that to the draftees.

“If you ask all the guys that are other quarterbacks in this draft class, they’ll probably say the same thing,” Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson said. “It’s just going to make the documentary and the story in five, 10 years even better whenever they start talking good about us. It’s a motivational tip and a humbling tip, and they can say what they want to say, but that’s just opinions, not facts — because we haven’t stepped foot on an NFL field yet, so they don’t know what’s going to happen.”

In most draft years, the pecking order at the top for quarterbacks is set by the time they report to Indianapolis in February for the scouting combine. This year’s class is different, as the opinions vary widely on the best available passers. As a result, those players might actually change their stock significantly between now and the draft’s opening night on April 27.

It also means every interview, clip of video, private workout and even offhanded comment could move one of the quarterbacks to the head of the class.

“All the guys are great, all the guys are very competitive,” Watson said. “All the guys have had success, are going have a successful career in the NFL. Everyone works hard, everyone is motivated to be the guy in that franchise.”

Watson, North Carolina’s Mitch Trubisky, Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes II, Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer, Pitt’s Nathan Peterman and Cal’s Davis Webb are on many teams’ draft boards. But how they’re ranked differs widely around the league, as the beauty of this class of passers is truly in the eyes of the beholder.

The group has more riding on these last-look workouts and visits than many of its predecessors. In previous years, quarterback prospects were trying to move up a few picks in the weeks leading up to the draft. This group could move entire rounds as they leapfrog each other based on tryouts.

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Players Who Need A Big Combine

Written by Dan Kadar at SBNation.com

In Indianapolis this week, players can use the Scouting Combine to vault their stock in the 2017 NFL Draft. While some players like Myles Garrett of Texas A&M or Jonathan Allen of Alabama should be secure with their draft position, these five players could help themselves the most.

DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame

Since the college football season has ended, much of the buzz for top quarterbacks has centered on Mitch Trubisky of North Carolina and Deshaun Watson of Clemson. Because Notre Dame finished with a 4-8, Kizer has been out of the spotlight since November. When he did play, he completed less than 60 percent of his passes, and 50.7 in his last two games against Southern California and Virginia Tech. At one point he was even benched last season. To call Kizer inconsistent is an understatement. Some do like him lot, though. Daniel Jeremiah of NFL Network rates him as the top quarterback and he’s not the only one

Kizer, who stands 6’4 and 229 pounds, has the physical skills to stand out at the combine. He’ll have to show it to make sure there isn’t a gap between he and Trubisky and Watson.

Malachi Dupre, WR, LSU

Dupre has first-round talent, but in 2016 he had mid-round production. Until pulling in seven catches for 139 yards, he had just 34 receptions for 454 yards and three touchdowns on the season. It wasn’t much fault of his own, however. As a team last season LSU threw less than 300 passes on the season, and the team’s quarterback play was often spotty. At the combine, Dupre will need a good week showing off his measurables and ability to catch the ball.

Brad Kaaya, QB, Miami

Going into the season, Kaaya carried some buzz as a potential first-round pick. Statistically, Kaaya had a nice season, completing 62 percent of his passes and throwing 27 touchdowns to only seven interceptions. Digging deeper, there are some concerns. When pressured, Kaaya’s footwork falls apart, and his accuracy goes down. Since he’s not much of a mover in the pocket, that can be a problem. Kaaya is also a slender figure in the pocket, and if teams were concerned about Teddy Bridgewater’s build, they’ll be similarly concerned about Kaaya. At the combine, Kaaya needs to show off a stronger arm than he did at Miami, look fluid moving around to drop the pocket statue critique, and carry a little more bulk than teams are used to seeing.

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DeShone Kizer Declares For NFL Draft


Written by Matt Fortuna at ESPN.com 

Notre Dame redshirt sophomore quarterback DeShone Kizer has declared for the NFL draft, the school announced.

“Thank you. NFL bound,” Kizer said toward the end of a minute-long video on Bleacher Report.

Kizer started the past 23 games for the Fighting Irish, with a 12-11 record. He threw for 5,809 yards with 47 touchdowns and 19 interceptions, adding 992 rushing yards and 18 more scores on the ground.

The 6-foot-4, 230-pound Kizer assumed the starting role in the third game of the 2015 season, replacing Malik Zaire after Zaire suffered a broken ankle against Virginia in Week 2. Kizer threw a game-winning touchdown pass and never looked back, starting every Irish contest since.

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said in fall camp this season that with Zaire back from injury, both he and Kizer would see extensive time in the season opener at Texas. After Kizer outplayed Zaire in the loss, however, that plan was scrapped, with Kizer assuming full-time duties the rest of the season.

Zaire has said he will transfer elsewhere for his fifth college season in 2017.

Kizer was voted the Irish’s MVP by his teammates at Friday’s program awards banquet and named a captain for 2017.

“DeShone is an extremely gifted quarterback that was faced with a difficult decision,” Kelly said Monday in a release. “He could return as a senior captain at Notre Dame — a place that he loves, and with a program that respects him immensely. Or, he could begin the next chapter in his life and accept the opportunity that likely awaits in the NFL.

“While he chose the latter, the type of leadership DeShone displayed this past season will benefit our program moving forward. He’ll certainly be missed on and off the field, but we’re very happy for him and his family. DeShone will always represent this University with the utmost professionalism and class.”

Neither Scouts Inc.’s Todd McShay nor ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. have Kizer on their latest draft boards, which are capped at 32 and 25 players, respectively. Kiper recently wrote that Kizer “has to go back to school,” with McShay adding: “Mel is right, Kizer needs another year.”

The lack of surefire upperclassmen quarterbacks in the 2017 class, however, could prove beneficial for Kizer, who was considered a late-bloomer in high school because of a well-rounded sports background that included four-year stints on both the baseball and basketball teams.

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