They selected Toledo native DeShone Kizer of Notre Dame with the No. 52 pick in the second round. It came a day after the Bears traded up from No. 3 to No. 2 to draft Mitch Trubisky, the Mentor, Ohio native that the Browns coveted.
Kizer, who attended the draft in Philadelphia on Thursday night, returned home to Toledo on Friday after an agonizing first round.
"It was well worth the wait now that I'm going to stay home and be a Cleveland Brown," he said.
When the Browns drafted the big-armed Kizer (6-4, 230), other quarterbacks still on the board included Cal's Davis Webb, Tennessee's Josh Dobbs and Pitt's Nathan Peterman. Kizer, whom the Browns worked out privately, was the fourth quarterback off the board, behind Trubisky, Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson.
For now, he'll compete with Cody Kessler, Brock Osweiler and Kevin Hogan.
Kizer said he wasn't a big Browns fan growing up, but that many of his family members are, and that there's definitely a connection. He said he knows he'll get better under Hue Jackson, and that he's already made adjustments from when they worked him out. He said he's confident he'll improve his accuracy under Jackson and quarterbacks coach David Lee.
In the first round, the Browns drafted Myles Garrett at No. 1 and Jabrill Peppers at No. 25 and tight end David Njoku, who can stretch the field and take advantage of Kizer's arm.
His selection comes about a week after he told USA Today Sports he had the mind of Tom Brady and body of Cam Newton.
"Name a college quarterback who goes into the game-plan meetings on Monday and throws his notes at the coaches," Kizer said. "No one else game-plans the way I do. No one else prepares the way I do. No one else knows football the way I do. No one else is as big as I am. No one else is as powerful a runner as I am. Pat Mahomes might throw the ball 80 yards and I can only throw the ball 72, but I guarantee he can't throw an out route the way I can. No one else can do what I can do.
"And I've truly figured out in this process, if I can maximize all my potential in every aspect of the game — this is bold — I do have the ability to be the greatest quarterback to ever play. Imagine taking Brady's intellect and Brady's preparation and putting it on a guy with Cam Newton's body. Why can't I be the greatest? The only thing stopping me from it is me. That's what's driving me now."
Kizer clarified those remarks in a conference call Friday, saying that he knows he's not there yet, but "Tom Brady and Cam Newton are the two guys that I'm going to emulate to get to the next level."
Kizer's arrival also comes weeks after Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said Kizer needed to stay in school instead of coming out as a junior.
"Well, he still should be in college," Kelly told Sirius XM Radio's Bruce Murray and former Irish and Browns quarterback Brady Quinn. "The circumstances are such that you have to make business decisions, and he felt like it was in his best interest. I'm going to support him and his decision. But the reality of it is he needs more football, he needs more time to grow in so many areas. Not just on the field, but off the field."
Kelly grew so frustrated with Kizer after a loss to Duke last year that he threatened to open the job to competition.
"My recommendation was that he needs more time [in college]," Kelly said. "He needs to play more football. I think the best place to play to continue his playing is at Notre Dame. But that doesn't mean we can't agree to disagree and then go and support him, and that's what we did.
"We had a great conversation with his family. I gave him my insight as to why I thought it was a good idea for him to come back. It wasn't adversarial in any way. Once the decision was made, we were united and we went to work to put him in the best situation."
Kelly stressed that Kizer is a work in progress.
"He's got to be able to have that attention to detail and that focus," he said. "He's got to be smart. He's got to have the ability to grind and a great attitude. He's got those traits, but they've got to be continuously worked on. Whoever takes DeShone, he's not a finished product in those areas.
"But when he does get more time to work on those traits, you're got to have a great young man and a great quarterback. The skills are out there. You can see them. You just go to his workout and you can see that he's got those skills. He's just not complete yet."
The Browns have done a lot of due diligence, including a private workout.
"I've had a number of conversations with GMs and coaches about DeShone, and my personal feeling is he has the biggest upside of all the quarterbacks," Kelly said. "I don't know that he's prepared to come in and win a Super Bowl for you (immediately). Some may feel as though maybe one of the other quarterbacks are, I don't know that first-hand. But I think in time, he has the biggest upside of all the three quarterbacks."
Kizer completed 58.7 percent of his attempts for 2,925 yards in 2016. He threw 26 touchdown passes and nine interceptions, and ran for eight more scores.
"That's why you've got to watch it," 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said at the NFL owners meeting last week. "You've got to see what happened. You can't just look at the stats or the record or the numbers. You've got to watch each game, and ... it seems on paper or their record that they had a real bad game and you go and watch the tape and a guy had a very good game. Stats can be deceiving.
"That's why there's no quick way to do it. You've got to watch every clip and really see how things happen. It's what's different with our sport. Your success on the football field is dependent on everybody. You can't just go out there and do it by yourself. It takes 11 guys all the time. It also takes a good system helping guys, and you've got to take all into account."
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