Everyone expected the Browns to take a quarterback during the draft this year, but they still raised some eyebrows when they picked Cody Kessler at the end of the third round on Friday night.
Kessler was generally ranked below several quarterbacks still on the board and neither his physical tools nor his college performances left many people predicting life as an NFL starter in his future. The Browns hired coach Hue Jackson because of his success putting offenses together, however, and Jackson said he sees things differently.
“He almost completed 68 percent of his passes. The guy has had a tremendous career,” Jackson said. “I understand where everybody is coming from, but you’ve got to trust me on this one. This is a guy that we feel very comfortable with, and we think he’s going to have an opportunity to ascend.”
In addition to accuracy, Jackson pointed to Kessler’s experience in a pro-style offense and pocket presence as things to like. He also feels Kessler, who had an 88-19 touchdown-to-interception ratio, was negatively impacted by the constant coaching upheaval at USC.
That’s something Jackson is hoping to put an end to in Cleveland and hitting on the Kessler pick would certainly help on that front. In the short term, it probably helps Robert Griffin III’s chances of being the starter in Week One, but it’s clear Jackson thinks he’s found a player he can mold in the years to come.