The Cleveland Browns have named rookie Deshone Kizer as their starting quarterback, beating out veteran Brock Osweiler and last year’s starter Cody Kessler. Browns head coach Hue Jackson issued the announcement via conference call, which came after Kizer made his first preseason start against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Kizer struggled against the Buccaneers, completing just six of 18 passes for 93 yards and an interception but Jackson was impressed by his pocket presence and the rookie’s ability to redirect protections.

According to Jackson, Kizer earned the starting job through his preparation, saying he established a work ethic that earned the respect of his teammates.

“I think it will afford him the ability to lead the offense as we move forward, which hopefully will lead to success,” said Jackson. The head coach admitted that Kizer is a work in progress but he can learn everything that he needs through playing.

The Browns’ No. 52 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, Kizer will make his first regular season start against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 1. He will be the first Browns rookie to start the season under center since Brandon Weeden in 2012. Kizer will be the fifth different opening day starter for the Browns in the past five seasons, behind Weeden, Brian Hoyer, Josh McCown, Robert Griffin III. He will be the 27th starting quarterback for the Browns since the team returned from a three-year hiatus in 1999.

Kizer was the first rookie from the 2017 NFL Draft to be named starting quarterback this season. He was picked behind Mitchell Trubisky of the Chicago Bears (No. 2), Patrick Mahomes II of the Kansas City Chiefs (No. 10) and Deshaun Watson of the Houston Texans (No. 12).

3 quarterbacks to compete for backup role

Osweiler, Kessler and Kevin Hogan will compete for the backup spot. Days ago, the Browns looked ready to install Osweiler as their starting quarterback. Now, Osweiler could be put on the trading block or be released if no trade materializes. Osweiler’s $16 million salary that they inherited from the Texans could hinder any possible trades.

Veteran tackle supports Kizer

Browns All-Pro left tackle Joe Thomas earlier predicted that Osweiler will start the season over Kizer and Kessler. However, Thomas said he was not disappointed that Osweiler was benched for Kizer against the Buccaneers. During training camp, Thomas said he has seen nothing but positives from Kizer, especially his passion for the game and his team. “He's an Ohio kid, and I think he understands what's happened here and he understands where he wants to take this team,” said Thomas.

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