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Cleveland Browns: Should They Pick Watson or Kizer in The 2017 NFL Draft?

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As the 26th different starting quarterback, and fifth over the last five games in Cleveland Browns rookie Cody Kessler aims to get the team’s first win, could they already be planning for next year’s starter under center?

I know it is WAY too early for some Browns fans even to think of talking about the 2017 NFL Draft, after a mere three games into a season, but in case you have not watched the first two, forgive me for jumping the gun a bit.

Tell me in your words in the comment section, what you have seen, to disqualify such a hast line of thinking? I’ll wait.

Thanks to injuries to quarterbacks Robert Griffin III and Josh McCown, a first-round pick in wide receiver Corey Coleman, a horrific offensive line that is failing to protect the quarterback and a defense that cannot stop the run—Jeesh!

How many times have us Browns fans been saying that now? —and you have the receipt for another top-five draft pick.

Now suppose that the Browns are in position—with either their own or Philadelphia’s first rounder—to take one of the top two quarterbacks in the draft, which one do they take?

According to some draft mocks, the top two quarterback prospects are Clemson Tigers junior quarterback Deshaun Watson and Notre Dame’s junior signal caller, DeShone Kizer.

In the case of the 6’4 230-pound Kizer, a native of Toledo, Ohio, he is tall, stands well in the pocket, has excellent mobility for his size and an ability to extend plays. Kizer also has decent accuracy in completing 63.3 percent of his passes for the season.

Overall, Kizer has thrown for 1,096 yards passing, 11 touchdowns and three interceptions in the Irish’s first four games, including a 22-for-37, 381 yard, two touchdowns, one interception performance vs. Duke in a 38-35 loss at home.

Kizer is also a capable runner as he has rushed for 502 yards on 134 rushes for ten touchdowns in 2015, has rushed for 186 yards and five touchdowns thru four games this season.

Since taking over as the starter, Malik Zaire has passed for close to 4,000 yards (3,974) and 32 touchdowns in 16 games as a starter. But with such a small sample size and still relatively raw, is his worth the top overall pick in 2017?

That is something that the Browns must figure out.

In the case of Watson, he is more polished, proven and possibly NFL-ready, but is he worthy of the top overall pick, despite his slight frame?

At 6’3 and 215 pounds, the Gainesville, Georgia native is everything one can ask for in a potential franchise quarterback in being experienced, roductive in one of the toughest conferences in college football. The Browns would be stupid to pass on him, right?

With all due respect to my fellow Dawgs, but nothing that this clueless franchise does surprise me anymore. While it is very early to judge the new front office of Sashi Brown and Paul DePodesta, their decision to pass on former North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz came back to bite them hard in a 29-10 loss on opening day to the Eagles.

Clearly, the Browns have a plan, but the question is, does that program include a QB in 2017? Or dare I say in 2018?

Make no mistake. Watson is a dual-threat with a good arm, pocket presence, and mobility, but if there is one worry that many Browns fans have in the back of their minds are, can his slight frame hold up to the pounding he will take in the rugged and physical AFC North.

While already passing for close to 1,000 yards for 996 and nine touchdowns and four interceptions, while rushing for 120 yards on 35 carries, it seems as if Watson has lost that “it” mojo that he had working so well for him last year.

Call me crazy, or spoiled for witnessing one of the most dazzling and spectacular seasons ever by a quarterback in recent memory, en route to the Davey O’Brien Award in passing for 4,104 yards, 35 touchdowns and ten interceptions and over 1,000 yards on the ground (1,105) and 12 touchdowns on 207 carries.

If I’m the Browns and on the clock when it comes down to Kizer vs. Watson, honestly I’d go with Kizer.

While the almighty future Hall-of-Famer—at least in the minds of certain Browns fans—in the first-round pick Brady Quinn proverbially threw the franchise—that drafted his overrated butt out of Notre Dame back in 2007—under the bus in a recent MMQB interview. I think the Browns would be stupid to pass on a talent, who could be molded to playing more in the AFC North than Watson.

He has the arm and prototype build at 230 pounds. If he can add on another 10-15 pounds, and the Browns bulk up his protection up front with some offensive line help, then Kizer could be the guy.

Again, I don’t want to be the guy that is called out for talking about who the Browns may take after starting off 0-2, but after two games and their rash of terrible luck and injuries, can you blame me?

Kizer or Watson? Got an opinion? Hit me up on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC.

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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at robert.cobb@theinscribermag.com