When a team with a struggling secondary decides to trade the player that led them in interceptions, the decision will obviously be met with much bewilderment. That’s exactly what the Packers did on Friday with 2015 first-round pick Damarious Randall. Randall was sent to Cleveland for quarterback DeShone Kizer and a swapping of fourth- and fifth-round draft picks. The Packers were high on Kizer during last year’s draft and considered taking him with the first overall pick of the second round. Randall led the Packers with four interceptions in 2017 but he was wildly inconsistent and a bad influence in the locker room. As a result of the trade, the Packers rid themselves of a headache, improved their draft leverage for trading up, and possibly found their backup to Aaron Rodgers.
Kizer had a rough year as a rookie in Cleveland after not winning a single game, throwing twice as many picks as he did touchdowns, and completing only 53.6% of his passes. Kizer did not have the luxury of throwing to wide receiver Josh Gordon until week 13 and there was very little run game for him to lean on. Cleveland ranked 28th in rushing attempts and 18th in yards in 2017. Kizer was the lowest rated quarterback in the league last season, but that comes with the territory of being the starting QB in Cleveland.
If anything, Kizer is a nice insurance policy for the Packers offense and will add some much needed competition under center during training camp.
Head coach Mike McCarthy stated at the combine that backup Brett Hundley was not ready for the starting role he was thrust into in 2017. His poor play was a dim reflection of McCarthy and his coaching staff failing to prepare Hundley for being the Packers emergency quarterback.
Something that likely led to McCarthy’s decision to fire quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt.
“That’s something that we should’ve been better prepared for, and I say ‘we’ because it’s not just on Brett,” McCarthy said. “But in the same breath, there wasn’t enough step-up around him, either. It was just one guy. I think that’s the first thing, stating the true evaluation of what went on. Secondly, I look at that position no different than any other, we can’t have enough competition. We need to increase the competition in our training environment.”
McCarthy also told the media that he still believes in Hundley and trusts him if needs to be called on again.
The Packers likely won’t sign a veteran quarterback out of free agency now that Kizer is on the roster. With only $17.1 million to work with in cap space, GM Brian Gutekunst should focus spending that money on defense where the Packers just created a gaping hole at cornerback.
Available free agent corners who could make an immediate impact for the Packers include: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Malcolm Butler, EJ Gaines, Bashaud Breeland, Aaron Colvin, and Rashaan Melvin.
The outlook of this trade will change over the next month or so as the Packers bring in new players to help the defense. Kizer is a legitimate starting quarterback who needed more than one offseason to get his feet under him. The talent the Packers possess at skill positions greatly outmatches what the Browns had to offer. The Packers likely knew that and it won’t be long before Kizer finds out for himself.
___________________Brandon Carwile was a Cheesehead at birth. His dad grew up attending games at Lambeau and passed on the legacy. He has covered the Packers for over five years and currently works with packerstalk.com. Find him on twitter at @PackerScribe.