FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — A pair of second-round draft picks will be in different positions on Sunday. The Jets’ 2016 second rounder, quarterback Christian Hackenberg will be inactive watching the Browns’ 2017 second-round pick, quarterback DeShone Kizer playing.
The road for each quarterback is different.
Hackenberg was drafted to eventually take over as the starter but his development has slowed and he failed this summer to beat out veteran Josh McCown and win the starting job during training camp.
Kizer was also drafted to become ‘The Guy’ and beat out Cody Kessler and Kevin Hogan for the starting job in camp.
“I think everyone has their own path,” Hackenberg told Newsday. “I feel like you can’t really get caught up in another person’s situations and you only have control over one and that’s yours. I just got to do what I gotta do when my opportunity comes.”
He’s completed just 51.4 percent of his passes with three touchdowns and an NFL-leading eight interceptions. Kizer has been sacked 11 times through four weeks.
The bright spots are few, his longest completion is 38 yards and he’s averaging 4.4 yards per carry.
“I think he’s growing each and every week,” Browns coach Hue Jackson said. “I think if you’re not winning, if you don’t have the great numbers that everybody is looking for, no one can see the small things that I think he’s getting better at week in and week out, but he just has to continue to put it together and keep working.”
Hackenberg is doing that too, just not on the field in a live game. Hackenberg is the scout team quarterback and gets few if any reps with the Jets’ first team offense. Yet McCown continues to mentor him and the other backup quarterback Bryce Petty, who is ahead of Hackenberg on the depth chart.
“It is what it is,” Hackenberg said. “You got to learn from it and grow from it, that’s one of the things that drives me is to keep on getting better and when that time comes it will be that much sweeter. Just trying to get lost in my own process and trying to get better and take every opportunity that I can and get as many balls up throughout the week and feel good about the game plan each week.”
So come Sunday Hackenberg will be chilling, watching a fellow second round quarterback attempt to make plays as a rookie.
“There’s a lot that comes with it,” Kizer said. “This is a whole new level of football from defensive schemes to complexity of your own offense to understanding the ins and outs of the locker room and the business that comes along with it. There’s a lot that is added to a quarterbacks plate. But here I was able to be under the guidance of Coach Jackson who brought me along pretty quickly and I’m becoming very comfortable.”