USC quarterback Cody Kessler was unexpectedly drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft. Now he’s in an open competition for the starting job.
Cody Kessler was expected to be a Day 3 draft pick and potential back up quarterback.
A third round selection and the admiration of Browns head coach Hue Jackson means Kessler could be in the mix to start earlier than anyone anticipated.
But is Kessler really in a position to start for the Browns this season…
2016 Browns Quarterbacks
- Josh McCown | 14th year
- Austin Davis | 5th year
- Robert Griffin III | 5th year
- Connor Shaw | 3rd year
- Cody Kessler | Rookie
Kessler enters one of the NFL’s most tumultuous quarterback situations. The Browns have fielded no less than three starting quarterbacks in each of the last three years.
Last year, veteran QB Josh McCown, Johnny Manziel and young journeyman Austin Davis each held the mantle of starter for a time. Manziel was released for a variety of on-field and off-field reasons and McCown and Davis have never been more than placeholders,
More from Reign of Troy
- Markese Stepp enters transfer portal intending to leave USC football
- USC football’s Alijah Vera-Tucker declares for NFL Draft
- USC football adds Xavion Alford as transfer from Texas
- USC Podcast: RoT Radio Ep. 396 on the Football Season’s Fallout
- Talanoa Hufanga named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, USC football with five first-teamers
This offseason, Cleveland signed former No. 2 overall draft pick and 2012 Offensive Rookie of the Year Robert Griffin III. Presumably, Griffin was brought in to revive his career and take the reins without much trouble.
Then the Browns surprised everyone by grabbing Kessler in the third round. Management and head coach Hue Jackson have been insistent that there will be an open competition and that Kessler will have an opportunity to win the starting job.
To do so, Kessler would have to pull a Russell Wilson — beating out an even higher-profile free agent signing to take the lead, largely thanks to game intelligence, without the benefit of Wilson’s mobility.
View from Cleveland…
"It is safe to say that while many Cleveland Browns fans expected the team to draft a quarterback, there is almost no one outside of team headquarters that expected that quarterback to be Cody Kessler. The Browns are all in, at least for the 2016 season, on Robert Griffin III being the starting quarterback with, hopefully, Josh McCown filling the backup role, leaving the third quarterback slot for Kessler. Head coach Hue Jackson obviously sees something he likes in Kessler, but it is hard to see him being anything more than a backup quarterback – which is not a bad way to go through life. He’s better (or at least no worse) than Austin Davis and Connor Shaw, who Kessler will have to beat out for the third quarterback slot, and could conceivably be the second-string quarterback if the Browns trade or release McCown. If Kessler starts the season as the Browns’ third quarterback, he should begin preparing for Week 17 when he is almost a lock to start the season finale against the Pittsburgh Steelers. In what has become a holiday tradition in Cleveland, injuries have forced the Browns to start the third-string quarterback in the season’s final game in five of the past six years, so Trojan fans should circle Jan. 1 on the calendars in anticipation of Kessler’ debut as an NFL starter (at least for one week)."