Cody Kessler doesn't have the biggest arm. He's not overly mobile. He doesn't have the prototypical size of an NFL quarterback.
But make no mistake about it: Cody Kessler is proving that he could be one of the best young backup quarterbacks in football.
Kessler was originally drafted by the Browns in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft out of Southern Cal. He was forced into the starting lineup on a hapless Browns team as a rookie and performed admirably. Kessler completed 128 of his 195 attempts that year (over 65 % of his passes), despite throwing to the likes of Terrelle Pryor, Gary Barnidge, Duke Johnson, Corey Coleman, Isaiah Crowell, and Andrew Hawkins. He also threw six touchdowns to just two interceptions AS A ROOKIE FOR THE CLEVELAND BROWNS. Kessler's ship sailed in Cleveland when the Browns selected DeShone Kizer (woof) with the 52nd pick in the 2017 draft and just like that Kessler became expendable.
Following the 2017 season, in which Kessler appeared in only three games and attempted just 23 passes, the Browns traded him to the Jaguars for a conditional seventh round pick.
Upon arriving in Duval County, Kessler was immediately plugged in as the number two guy behind Blake Bortles. It wasn't always pretty for Kessler throughout OTAs and minicamp, but he did show flashes, especially when targeting rookie WR DJ Chark.
Fast forward to training camp and Cody Kessler has done exactly what you want from a backup QB and has looked much more comfortable in Nate Hackett's offensive system. He's taken care of the ball and has yet to throw an interception through six training camp practices. He's also completed a high percentage of throws and has been particularly effective in the short to intermediate range. Kessler has continued to get the best out of DJ Chark and has begun to test the Jaguars second string secondary (which has no lack of talent) on deeper routes with relative success.
Sure, he sometimes struggles to find an open receiver against the Jaguars defense, but let's be honest -- who doesn't?
Kessler may never earn a starting job in the NFL. But despite his lack of arm strength and mobility and his less than prototypical size Cody Kessler is proving that he may be a quality backup in this league for years to come.
Of course, if all goes right for the Jaguars in 2018 they won't have to find out what level of competency Kessler can bring to the field. But if the Jaguars do have to rely on Kessler at any point in the season, it appears, for now, that they're in good hands.
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