CLEVELAND -- Quarterback DeShone Kizer may be a rookie in the National Football League, but the first-year signal-caller knows well that everyday improvement is important.
Since being selected with the No. 52 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft out of the University of Notre Dame, Kizer has focused on improving every day, and it has led to him getting repetitions with the first-team offense through minicamp.
“I am pretty happy with where I am right now in the sense that this whole OTA experience, and now, veteran camp was just an opportunity for me to put myself in a position to potentially compete when it comes training-camp time,” Kizer said.
“I am not in a position to even consider myself in a competition, but now, after getting this base and getting the reps I have gotten in the last couple weeks, I think that by the time training camp comes around, with a little more work over this month off, I will be ready to compete with these guys and see what I can do.”
Kizer says the opportunity to run with the Browns’ first-team offense has been “awesome,” and has allowed him “just to learn as much as I can” before heading to California during a month-long break to work with renowned quarterback coach Tom House.
“When you are out there with the guys who have done it for a while, some veterans who completely have seen everything, it not only helps me with my confidence, but it also puts me in the best position when I am wrong to get it right,” Kizer said.
“The communication that you have with the center and the guys around you is everything. For me to have the opportunity to learn from those guys within these reps this early in my career, hopefully, will push me a little further ahead later down the road.”
In his two years as a starter at Notre Dame, the 6-foot-4, 230-pound Kizer completed 423 of his 696 attempts for 5,809 yards and 47 touchdowns against 19 interceptions.
Pressed into service because of an injury to Malik Zaire during the 2015 season, Kizer completed 211 of his 335 attempts for 2,884 yards and 21 touchdowns against 10 interceptions over 13 games with the Fighting Irish.
During a 4-8 season in 2016, Kizer battled through coaching issues to complete 212 of his 361 attempts for 2,925 yards and 26 touchdowns against nine interceptions despite being sacked 25 times behind the Fighting Irish’s struggling offensive line.
And after going through organized team activities and mandatory minicamp with the veterans since joining the Browns, Kizer has felt the game speed slow down “quite a bit.”
“At the quarterback position, this game is all about confidence and being comfortable,” Kizer said. “The more you know, the more confident you are. As the time goes on, the more I can become more comfortable with the playbook, the more confident I will be and the better balls I will be able to throw.
“At the end of the day, it is all just about completing passes and moving the ball forward, and eventually, trying to put up points. Once again, the more I know, the more confident I will be.”