Cody Kessler, QB
School: USC | Conference: PAC 12
College Experience: Senior | Age: 22
Height / Weight: 6-1 / 220 lbs
Projected: 5th or 6th Round | Actual: 3rd Round (Pick 93) by the Cleveland Browns
There is a lot to like and a lot to dislike about Cody Kessler. Opinions on him are split. Some think he's trash. Another USC QB that's "terrible", one who lacks ideal size, and arm strength and makes bad decisions. Others think he is a quarterback that has a solid foundation of tools to work with and that he just need continuity to fulfill his potential. I linked a tweet below that I hope was trying to be sarcastic in nature but it says "Cody Kessler was 27-14 as a starting QB. How did the Trojans lose that many games in that span? I hope it's sarcastic, because Kessler and the entire Trojans team has had to deal with a considerable amount of turmoil over the past few seasons limiting the ability of the team to establish continuity and recruit quality players. USC has gone through five head coaches during Kessler's time there. Additionally the team was sanctioned by the NCAA losing 30 scholarships over the past three years. Circumstances like that would affect the entire team but especially the quarterback position.
Kessler has starter quality accuracy on this throws. He played in a pro-style offense at USC and has experience taking snaps from under center and in the shotgun. For the most part, Kessler takes what the defense gives him making safe, high percentage throws. The ball comes out with a nice zip in the 15 through 25-yard range. He's not really a mobile quarterback but he can maneuver within the pocket and USC called a lot of rollouts and bootlegs for him.
Consistency is Kessler's problem. One game he'll do a good job of looking off defenders and throwing his receivers open or he'll deliver a pass quickly to avoid pressure the next he'll stare down throws all the way leading to picks or hold onto the ball too long leading to sacks. He's a conservative QB and probably the definition of dink-and-dunk in this QB class. Sometimes he'll attempt throws he has no business attempting. Though Kessler has fine arm strength, his deep ball accuracy is spotty at best and he'll almost always chose the dump-off over the home run.
With all that, I think Kessler is a good late-round option for teams who run a West Coast offense and are looking to develop a backup or 3rd-string QB.
Cody Kessler preparing to start for Browns from Day 1 https://t.co/pTvlFuhgVo— Scott @ WFNY (@WFNYScott) June 8, 2016
Browns QB Cody Kessler putting in extra work, on and off the field https://t.co/Q6a0MiJ0YM— Draft Wire (@TheDraftWire) June 8, 2016
Rookie minicamp notes from Friday: Hue Jackson says too soon to say if Cody Kessler will compete for starting job https://t.co/h7VuBqwz85— Daryl Ruiter (@RuiterWrongFAN) May 14, 2016
How He Makes the Browns Better and Create Problems for the Redskins
With any luck (for the Browns) the Redskins shouldn’t see Kessler at all this season. He has the 3rd string position most likely on lock after veterans Josh McCown and Robert Griffin III. Coach Hue Jackson says it's way too soon to name a starter and that all the quarterbacks on the roster are competing for the starting gig. Jackson seems like an even keel grounded coach and unless there are significant injuries to McCown and/or Griffin he is unlikely to throw Kessler into the fire immediately.
The Browns drafting Kessler in the 3rd round definitely caught me off guard on day three as all indications pointed to Kessler being a late round pick. The Browns obviously saw much much more than that in him. I think Kessler could be developed into a high quality back up eventually. He’s someone I think who can come in and not lose a game for a team which in the NFL counts for a lot (looking at you Dallas). Still he’s seemingly a long way off. Watching his development under Hugh Jackson in the next couple of years could prove to be interesting.