GREEN BAY – The Packers added another quarterback prospect to their roster this week when they acquired 2017 second-round pick DeShone Kizer from the Cleveland Browns.
Kizer was the fourth quarterback selected in last year’s draft at No. 52 overall. The 6-foot-4, 233-pound QB threw for 5,805 yards, 47 touchdowns and 19 interceptions in two seasons at the University of Notre Dame.
Kizer was thrown into the fire immediately as the Week 1 starter for the Browns. In 15 starts, Kizer threw for 2,894 yards with 11 touchdowns and 22 interceptions and set a new rushing record for a Cleveland quarterback (419 yards).
Here are five things to know about Kizer:
1. He is a young quarterback with upside
An early entrant in the 2017 NFL Draft, Kizer played his entire rookie season at only 21 years old. While his rookie season came with no shortage of challenges, Kizer played nearly 900 offensive snaps and finished the year on a high note in throwing for 314 yards and two touchdowns in a narrow 28-24 loss to the playoff-bound Pittsburgh Steelers. His 314 passing yards were the fifth-most by a Browns rookie quarterback. Kizer’s 2,894 passing yards were the second-most in a season by a rookie in franchise history.
2. He can run
Along with his 419 rushing yards, Kizer’s five rushing touchdowns were the most by a Browns quarterback since Mike Phipps had five in 1972. He finished the year third in the NFL in rushing touchdowns behind Carolina’s Cam Newton and Dallas’ Dak Prescott, who each had six. Kizer’s dual-threat versatility also was apparent during his two seasons as Notre Dame’s starting QB. He rushed for 997 yards and 18 touchdowns on 264 attempts in 25 games. He set a school record for rushing yards by a quarterback (143) against Temple on Oct. 31, 2015.
3. He’s a big QB with a big arm
A four-star recruit, Kizer started his career as the backup to Everett Golson and Malik Zaire. He started 2015 as a backup before Zaire was lost for the season to a broken ankle. Kizer chose to declare for the NFL Draft after completing 212-of-361 passes for 2,925 yards and 26 touchdowns during his final year with the Fighting Irish. He drew praise from scouts for his size, athleticism and arm strength, which was on display throughout the 2015 season with several deep connections with eventual Houston Texans receiver Will Fuller, who averaged 20.3 yards per catch during his junior year at Notre Dame.
4. He had a prolific high-school career
Kizer passed for 5,684 yards, rushed for 1,211 yards and scored 83 touchdowns (56 passing, 17 rushing) during a historic run at Toledo Central Catholic. Named AP Ohio Offensive Player of the Year as a senior in 2013, Kizer was 34-6 as a three-year starter and won the Ohio Division II state title in 2012. He also played basketball and baseball at Central Catholic. His father, Derek, played basketball at Bowling Green and often served as DeShone’s coach throughout his childhood.
5. He was a spelling bee champion in sixth grade
Kizer won his sixth-grade spelling bee by successfully spelling the word “junco.” He also collects Air Jordans and enjoys playing golf and ping pong in his free time.