Once upon a time, Florida football thought it was getting the next big thing at quarterback. Jeff Driskel had all the measurables and all the tools one could have wanted out of a quarterback.
Though his career with the Gators never really panned out, Driskel has managed to stick as a backup quarterback in the NFL and, now playing for the Cleveland Browns, got his 12th career start yesterday,
Florida Football: Best job in the land
Coming out of high school, Driskel was the top rated dual threat QB in the nation for the class of 2011. Listed an inch taller than Tim Tebow at 6'4" and 235 pounds, Florida fans dreamed they were going to build another statue outside The Swamp.
But Driskel never felt like he was fully unlocked under Will Muschamp. His one full season as the starter for the Gators in 2012 was respectable enough, but Florida's SEC title hopes were derailed by Georgia when Driskel went 15 of 27 passing for 191 yards and two interceptions.
Driskel then broke his leg against Tennessee in 2013 and while he was the starter to begin in 2014, he would be benched for Treon Harris. Driskel then transferred to Louisiana Tech for the 2015 season.
On paper, it would seem like Driskel would have had a minimal chance at an extended NFL career. The San Francisco 49ers took a 6th-round flyer on him in the 2016 draft, but it felt like it was as much for his size as anything he had done on the field.
From there, Driskel has just kept popping up and has kept hanging on in the NFL. His first official pass was with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2018. He has also had appearances with Detroit, Denver, and Houston.
With Cleveland's playoff positioning secured before yesterday, the Browns opted to rest current QB Joe Flacco. This opened the door for Driskel, who had been spending the season on the Arizona Cardinal's practice squad.
"When you get an opportunity to get on a 53 man roster, you take it."- Jeff Driskel
His start with the Browns yesterday was about what we have seen from Driskel during his eight year NFL oddesy. He went 13 of 26 passing for 166 yards, with two touchdowns and two interceptions. The Browns lost the game 31-14 to Cincinnati.
For his career, has now appeared 24 times in the NFL with 12 starts. His record as a QB is 1-11 with 16 career touchdown passes. But if you are keeping score at home, his two touchdown passes he had yesterday tied him Jameis Winston on the year.
It showcases that in the NFL, no amount of prior accolades can ensure success while at the same time highlighting that as long as you have a key to the building, you have a chance to stick around. And Jeff Driskel has found a way to keep sticking around.