Draft busts are always going to be given more leeway in my opinion than veteran signees. You don’t know how they’re going to pan out, which is why they’re higher on this list than the veterans who failed after only one season.
14. DeShone Kizer (15)
In terms of just out-and-out performance, DeShone Kizer is arguably the worst player to ever put on a Browns jersey. Yet we’re looking at starting quarterbacks on this team. The number of games you play, what you had around you, and total stats, isn’t all that matters. Kizer was garbage, but we have two quarterbacks who in their entire Browns career threw for less than 20 yards as a starter. Kizer is terrible, but he’s still just 23 years old at the time of this piece. In his lone season as a starter, he went 0-15, threw for just shy of 3,000 yards (so that’s good at least), but had only 11 touchdowns to a whopping 22 interceptions.
But Baker Mayfield had a “terrible” year in 2019. Ok.
13. Charlie Frye (19)
Our first multi-year starter. That’s so dang sad. Charlie Frye started 19 total games over his three years with the Cleveland Browns. He completed a respectable 62% of his passes, for 3,490 yards, but only 14 touchdowns to 23 interceptions; while amassing six wins, and 13 losses in that span. He did tack on three more rushing touchdowns in 2006, for 215 yards rushing. Frye was athletic but never consistent enough to make it work.
12. Brady Quinn (12)
Brady Quinn was a boring quarterback. He didn’t have the big arm everyone thought he would, he wasn’t really that athletic, and he didn’t take a lot of risks, but still made a lot of mistakes. He went 3-9 as a starter in 2008 and 2009, after sitting behind Derek Anderson in 2007. He completed a terrible 52% of his passes, with only 10 touchdowns and nine interceptions to show for it. He did throw 1,902 yards for what it’s worth. Making the move from Anderson, who had a cannon, to Quinn was the downfall of Anderson’s confidence as a starter. If Quinn wasn’t on the team and management wasn’t so quick to rush to see what Quinn could be, maybe the team would’ve been better long term. Who knows?
11. Johnny Manziel (8)
It’s not hard to say that Quinn was better than Johnny Manziel, he may have been but Manziel was exciting. Sure, he only went 2-6 as a starter and was plagued by substance issues but he did put up some interesting numbers. He completed 57% of his passes, for 1,675 yards, with seven touchdowns and seven interceptions. He also rushed for 259 yards, with a touchdown added on. Who knows what he would’ve looked like if he had a more stable environment, a better support structure, and a head coach who knew how to use him?
10. Brandon Weeden (20)
Brandon Weedon had a huge arm. That was obvious. He also wasn’t as bad as people thought he was. He did complete 56% of his career passes in a Browns uniform while amassing 5,116 passing yards, 23 touchdowns, and 28 interceptions. Not bad when you realized he only played 20 games for the Browns. He did only go 5-15 though, which is probably why the team gave up on him so fast. Plus he was a 29-year-old rookie. If he hadn’t played five-plus years of minor league baseball, what would Weedon of looked like?
9. Cody Kessler (8)
The first “good” quarterback on this list. It took 21 players to finally get to a player who was actually good as a Cleveland Brown. Holy hell, man. He was on the team for two seasons but only started eight games, going 0-8 in the process. The former third-round pick out of USC did play well. Completing 65.6% of his completions, for 1,380 yards, with six touchdowns and two interceptions in the lone year he started. That was the year the team went 1-15, so imagine what Kessler could’ve done with today’s Browns’ quad. Kessler is the Patriots’ backup at the moment and may have a shot to start for the team.