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2017 NFL Draft Reaction: DeShone Kizer Goes to the Cleveland Browns

RotoViz has teamed up with TwoQBs to provide post-draft analysis of the 2017 quarterback class. Two QBs is devoted to 2QB and Superflex fantasy leagues and provides player evaluations and advice, rankings, and strategy. Anthony Amico’s work can be found here.

DeShone Kizer was drafted 52nd overall by the Cleveland Browns as the team looks to add some more competition for Cody Kessler. Kizer experienced a bit of a slip in the draft from what was originally expected.

From a fantasy perspective, I wouldn’t expect anything out of Kizer right away. He was generally considered a project by most pundits, and Kessler was good enough last season to have the lead for the starting job. However, there are certainly great weapons in Cleveland for whenever Kizer gets his shot.

We’ll get to more of that in a minute. First, let’s take a look at your new Cleveland Browns QB.

DeShone Kizer, Notre Dame, 6-4, 233

QB Model Data

DeShone Kizer201708.17.420.435623360424.539.8752279

From DeShone Kizer: Armchair Scouting Report.

Kizer’s completion percentage is incredibly worrisome on its own. Here is the complete list of signal callers since 2000 to complete less than 60 percent of their passes in their final season (1-A prospects only) and go on to have a QB1 season in the NFL in fantasy points per game. The number of such seasons are in parenthesis.

Matt Ryan (4)
Jay Cutler (3)
Tyrod Taylor (2)
David Garrard (2)
Derek Anderson (1)

Let’s look at his production courtesy of Sports Reference.


Kizer is not an idea QB prospect but has a decent chance of success. He ranked as the 15th overall player and the QB3 in the final RotoViz Scouting Index. The RotoViz staff ranked him QB4 in our pre-draft rookie rankings.

He has a 44 percent chance of success based on RotoDoc’s pre-draft model. That is slightly better than Cody Kessler and Brian Brohm, and slightly worse than Teddy Bridgewater and Blake Bortles.1

In my TwoQBs scouting report of Kizer, I pointed out how much worse he was than Deshaun Watson in games against top 15 opponents.2

Quarterback Games Cmp Att Pct Yds TD Int AYA Rate RuAtt RuYds
DeShone Kizer 4 16.8 32.3 52% 193 1.5 0.5 6.2 109.8 12.5 19.5
Deshaun Watson 5 29.6 44.2 67% 345 2.2 1.2 7.6 143.4 16.6 54.4

Kizer’s numbers look strong on the surface, but it’s worrisome that he struggled so much against the best college teams.

Player Outlook

As I mentioned before, Kizer will have to beat out Kessler if he wants to be the starter this season. Brock Osweiler also lurks on the depth chart after being traded from Houston. Here’s how the trio stacked up in their final year of college football.

DeShone Kizer2016521236158.729252698.4
Cody Kessler2015931444666.835362978.5
Brock Osweiler2011571351663.2403626137.7

Especially considering Osweiler’s disastrous finish in Houston, this seems like a definite two-horse race. If Kizer is able to win the starting job, he will have plenty of weapons at his disposal. Corey Coleman was a first round pick last year, Kenny Britt was a great free agent pickup, and Cleveland has already taken TE David NjokuDuke Johnson has also caught 114 passes in his first two seasons.

There’s no reason to pursue Kizer in anything but dynasty leagues right now. With the position being so deep, he is a third-round rookie pick at best in single-QB formats. In 2QB leagues, I could see taking Kizer somewhere in the mid-to-late second round.

Team Outlook

I’m not sure if Kizer has any affect on the skill players in Cleveland. For starters, we aren’t even sure if he’ll end up seeing significant playing time. Even if he does, he’s not a markedly different prospect from Kessler (although the range of outcomes is probably wider). I would imagine the team production is similar with either.


Kizer is a solid QB prospect but is not expected to ever be a star. We will see how he develops in the Browns system, and if the team is truly committed to him in any way. I do not expect his presence to preclude Cleveland from pursuing a bigger name next off-season.

Find all of our 2017 NFL draft reaction content here.

Additional Research

Quarterbacks – The QB Prospect Model – RotoDoc uses a statistical feature selection process to build a QB projection model. It provides a likelihood of success, and in testing, mis-classified QBs just seven percent of the time. RotoDoc provides success odds for the incoming rookies, as well as 2016 draftees, and the complete data set for all QBs going back to 2007.

Two QBS –  is devoted to 2QB and Superflex fantasy leagues and provides player evaluations and advice, rankings, and strategy. Anthony Amico’s work can be found here.

See for Yourself

  1. That number will change once the model is updated to reflect Kizer’s actual draft position.  (back)
  2. Based on Football Outsiders S&P+ pass defense.  (back)

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