Considering Cody and QBs in threes

Can you see your way to a season of Kessler controlling the Browns' offense? Seems we've yet to meet his real competition for the job.

In a different way than the released RGIII, Browns quarterback Cody Kessler is “The Third.”

As in, things come in threes. As in, third time’s a charm. Or maybe as the “rule of three,” a writing principle that such groupings are somehow punchier, one way or another.

  • “C” is the third letter of the alphabet.
  • Cody follows Charlie Frye and Colt McCoy as the third QB the Browns drafted in Round 3 since 1999.
  • Cody (6), Charlie (9), and Colt’s (12) Browns jersey numbers were all factors of three.
  • The odds that three quarterbacks would randomly get eligible numbers that all are factors of three is just about three percent.
  • Cody was one of three candidates last year who would’ve continued the coincidence. (Considering Connor Cook and Cardale Jones obviously excludes or overlooks Dak Prescott, which is actually kind of fitting.)

Draft watchers were surprised he was taken that high, 93rd overall last April. “You have to trust me on this one,” quoth Hue. Much later reporting has the front office, not the head coach, as the main force behind drafting Kessler when they did. Hue’s freshly-stated threshold for QB height is 74 inches, and Kessler stands one short.

Needless to say, given the NFL salary structure and CBA, the incentive to play players in their rookie contracts is strong. And for one reason or another, all three Browns 3rd-round QBs — Frye in ’05, McCoy in ’10, and Kessler in ’16 — played about half the time as rookies.

With a recently-drafted starter at QB, a value-minded or cash-poor franchise can save tens of millions of dollars, compared to the annual earnings of the league’s vested veterans. That effect amplifies the later the passer was picked, given the wage scale for rookie contracts.

So, their next seasons, Frye and McCoy each started 13 games. For both, it was by far a career high (though McCoy’s still around). Ultimately, the results and the potential displayed led the Browns to trade each of them away for low draft value with time still remaining under their basic contracts.

I’m hearing buzz that projects Kessler as the odds-on favorite to start for the Browns this fall. But that’s not a very useful exercise. More important is this question, which assumes Brock Osweiler will be traded or released this spring:

Do the Browns need to add one or two more quarterbacks to compete with Kessler?

Probably two. You should have four in camp. I see limited upside for Kevin Hogan.

Kessler has the right approach to his job and seems like a guy who’d fit in well on just about any team, even if his natural talent is far from elite. His rookie numbers beat his pair of predecessors, largely by avoiding interceptions. But the sack rate for all three was too high to succeed.

The investment in the line will help whoever plays QB for the Browns in 2017. I’d feel better with a bit more experience on the roster, though. Not that Ryan Nassib has played much, but I could see the Browns signing him to compete with Kessler and a draft pick, be it Trubisky, Davis Webb, or any of the others.

Or I could see them drafting aggressively to get their top-ranked rookie QB, and then using a later round pick on more of a sleeper prospect.

But for this season, given who he is and where he stands, Kessler is poised to make a strong move into the first string, at least for a while. May the moxie be with him.

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