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Two plays show what Browns' DeShone Kizer can be, and where he is

BEREA, Ohio -- One throw midway through an offseason practice without pads in May showed the talent that led the Cleveland Browns to draft quarterback DeShone Kizer in the second round.

But a throw a few minutes later on a quick slant -- behind a receiver and intercepted for what would have been a touchdown -- showed that Kizer does have a ways to go. As he said so aptly: "I'm in my third week here. This is all new to me."

It's that combination of skills and youth that prompted Hue Jackson recently to say that anyone watching practice might see Kizer standing next to him the entire time.

"I have to find out probably more about him than I do any of the guys," Jackson said. "He is not going to get too far away from me, I know that. He has done a good job. He just has to keep getting better."

The good throw was on a simple drill and a simple route, but a route that separates the good from the very good NFL passers: the deep out. Those who don't have the arm for that throw typically carry clipboards.

On this play, Kizer dropped, stood tall, brought the ball high as quarterbacks are told to do and delivered a sharp throw right on the money to Rashard Higgins.

"He can throw it," Jackson said. "I think we all know that. He can really throw the football. He has to learn how to play the game the way we want it played in our system."

Kizer, who shared third-team reps with Kevin Hogan behind Cody Kessler and Brock Osweiler, has emphasized the "learn" word from the day he walked into the building.

“It was a situation where I could have read the play differently and had a wide-open guy on the back side, but I was able to let one rip,” Kizer said. “That’s all I’m trying to do right now, get the confidence to where I can just let one rip all the time. That’s a prime example of being completely content with the play and the defense and I can go out there and just let it rip. Then there’s other plays [where] I’m still fluttering around in the huddle and I don’t have that confidence to go let it rip.

"The more I learn, the better I’ll continue to have those type of balls.”

The interception was a quick slant thrown well behind the receiver and right into the arms of Ibraheim Campbell. In a live game, it would have been a pick-six.

"He is just learning our system," Jackson said. "As soon as I told him what the mistake was, he goes, ‘Got it.’ Now, he is like that. He does pick things up pretty quickly. Hopefully, we can improve from there.”

“Throwing interceptions is part of [the process],” Kizer said. “I’m still trying to figure this thing out. We were in a blitz period; they’re sending a couple different looks at me and I forced a ball I shouldn’t have forced. When I go back and watch film, I’ll bet you won’t see that same pick ever again.”

Kizer should not be expected to be perfect. One play doesn't validate him or condemn him. Taken together, the two show what he can be and where he has to go. It might not even come together for him this season, but Jackson said that at this infantile stage of his career, he's doing a good job.

"He has been better than some guys I have been around," Jackson said.