Perhaps we should have seen this coming. The two quarterbacks the Browns passed on in the last two drafts — Carson Wentz and Deshaun Watson — earned NFC and AFC Player of the Month honors on Thursday.
The Browns didn’t pull the trigger on Wentz, trading the second overall pick in 2016 to the Eagles, who drafted him, and instead drafted Cody Kessler in the third round.
“We didn’t draft Carson Wentz because we didn’t think it was the right fit for our team at this time,” Jackson told Mike Florio on PFT Live in September 2016. “There’s nothing more to it. Obviously, that will make for great debate in the media, and that’s fine. Our singular focus right now is just preparing to face the Eagles.”
Meanwhile, here’s what Jackson said about Kessler shortly after he was drafted.
“He almost completed 68 percent of his passes [in college. The guy has had a tremendous career. I understand where everybody is coming from, but you’ve got to trust me on this one. This is a guy that we feel very comfortable with, and we think he’s going to have an opportunity to ascend.”
Because of injuries, Kessler ascended to the starting job his rookie season and he went 0-8. The Browns drafted DeShone Kizer in the second round and the rookie has started seven of the team’s eight games this season. Kessler has made just one appearance this season.
Last month, before the Browns faced the Texans, and after the Browns had benched Kizer for the first (but not the last) time, Jackson was asked about why the team didn’t draft Watson.
“It doesn’t matter for this reason,” Jackson told reporters at the time. “Because whether we did or didn’t, that’s not the point. The point is we are going to play the Houston Texans in Houston. Here’s our football team. … We’re trying to get a football victory, and it doesn’t matter. He plays quarterback there. Kevin Hogan is playing quarterback for us this week, and DeShone Kizer is our backup.”
It’s not like the Browns weren’t warned. Shortly after Watson was named AFC Player of the Month, Cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot tweeted out this message from Watson’s college coach, Dabo Sweeney, delivered at the Senior Bowl in January:
Watson becomes the first rookie quarterback to win Player of the Month honors, and he does it after an October that included 16 touchdowns for 1,171 yards and a passer rating of 116.0. Those 16 touchdown passes are the most by a rookie in NFL history. No. 2 on the list? Dan Marino, who had 11 in October, 1983.
And Wentz, who has led the Eagles to a 7-1 start, had 14 touchdown passes in October, which is the most in a calender month for any Eagles quarterback.
The three Browns’ quarterbacks — Kizer, Hogan and Kessler — have combined for 7 touchdowns on the season to go along with 18 touchdowns, 23 sacks and zero wins.