Well, okay. Did the Green Bay Packers really want quarterback DeShone Kizer or did they just want rid of defensive back Damarious Randall?
Probably a little of both. However, the Packers’ affinity for Kizer is being presented as the impetus for the trade that sent Randall to the Cleveland Browns and returned the former second-round pick to the Packers.
It was learned this week that the Packers actually reached out to the Browns about Kizer.
“Just because of the closeness of the relationships we were inquiring about each other’s players quite a bit,” Packers’ general manager Brian Gutekunst said. “When they acquired (quarterback) Tyrod Taylor, I inquired about Kizer, and it kind of went from there.
“I think he’s a young quarterback who has an athletic skill set we look for. Exceptionally bright, very smart. He’s accurate with the football. He’s able to extend plays, make things out of nothing. I think he just needs time. The things we’ve always looked for in quarterbacks from a skill set and a wiring type he had, and that was intriguing to us. Also moving up in those two rounds, the fourth and fifth rounds, was important as well.”
I don’t doubt the Packers had some interest in Kizer. It was rumored that the brass liked him a lot coming out of Notre Dame in 2017. The Browns — or at least general manager John Dorsey — had clearly given up on Kizer after a rookie campaign where he started 15 games and led the league in picks with 22.
While Kizer’s stats were abysmal — league-worst rating and league-worst completion percentage — there are some things to like. Kizer has a live arm, can make all the throws, is athletic and mobile.
Plus, we all saw what happened with Brett Hundley in 2017. While Kizer may have been awful, at least he had the excuse of being a rookie — not a guy who was three years into Packers’ the system.
Kizer appears to have upside. Hundley, not so much.
Now, the real question is this. Did Gutenkunst know Dorsey would jump at a chance to acquire Randall? Is that the real reason he inquired about Kizer? We now know the Packers wanted to dump Randall. What better place to dump him?
The real get for the Packers in this trade probably won’t be Kizer. They also swapped fourth and fifth round picks with the Browns. That puts the Packers at the top of both rounds.
The Packers obviously do have some affinity for Kizer, however. We’ll see if they can make something more of him than the Browns did.