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The Journal Gazette

Friday, April 28, 2017 9:20 pm

DeShone Kizer drafted by Browns in 2nd round

CHRIS GOFF | The Journal Gazette

DeShone Kizer learned his NFL destination Friday night. It's his home state.

Cleveland chose Kizer in the second round with the No. 52 overall pick, sending the Notre Dame product back to Ohio, where he starred at Central Catholic High School in Toledo.

Quarterback has been an eyesore for Cleveland since the NFL returned to the city with an expansion team in 1999. The Browns have used 26 players at quarterback in that time, with many unsuccessful.

Hue Jackson, who just completed his first season as the Browns' coach, has a background as an offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. No one should be surprised if Jackson's guidance proves helpful to Kizer's NFL career.

Nonetheless, Kizer is an unfinished product, and making the transition from college could prove difficult in his rookie season. Cleveland has Brock Osweiler and Cody Kessler, and they would seem to have the best chance to start in 2017. Kizer also would have to compete with former Stanford signal-caller Kevin Hogan.

While going home is nice, the Browns are also undeniably the NFL's weakest franchise. They went 1-15 in 2016 and have since lost a top offensive weapon (Terrelle Pryor Sr.) to free agency. Make no mistake, 2016 was nothing unusual. Since 2010, the Browns have won just 26 percent of their games.

But if Kizer is finally the answer to Cleveland's long-term need at quarterback, he could become something of a cult hero in Ohio.

Kizer is the first Notre Dame player to be chosen in this year's draft, with several more (defensive end Isaac Rochell, defensive tackle Jarron Jones) probable to go at some point in the seven-round event.