Jake Browning is now the starting quarterback for the Cincinnati Bengals after Joe Burrow suffered a season-ending injury in Week 11.
However, it has been a long road for Browning to get to this spot. He had a promising career at the University of Washington, but injury stopped any hope of Browning being an early-round NFL Draft pick.
Jake Browning at Washington
After an excellent high school career at Folsom High School in Folsom, California, Browning committed to Washington as a four-star recruit.
As a freshman, Browning started 12 games, with the Huskies finishing the season 7-6. He became the first freshman to open the season in Washington football history and ended the season with 2,955 yards, 16 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions.
His passing yards were the fifth most in school history, putting him on the radar as one of the better young quarterbacks in college football — with many outlets projecting Browning as a potential NFL player.
Browning built on his freshman campaign with a superb sophomore season. In 2016, he threw for 3,430 yards, 43 touchdowns, and nine interceptions. Those 43 TDs are still a school record. The Huskies finished the season 12-2, winning the Pac-12. Washington lost to Alabama in the College Football Playoff that season.
This amazing year saw Browning win Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year and finish as first-team All-Pac-12. Browning also finished in sixth place in the 2016 Heisman Trophy voting.
It was later revealed that despite having a great season in 2016, Browning was dealing with issues with his throwing arm throughout the season, and he underwent surgery a couple of weeks after the Huskies’ playoff loss.
After undergoing successful shoulder surgery, Browning came back for another solid year. As a junior, he threw for 2,719 yards, 19 TDs, and five INTs. Returning for his senior season, he would put up another 3,192 yards, 16 TDs, and 10 INTs.
Browning ended his career at Washington playing 53 games, only missing one game his entire college career. He also broke multiple school and conference records.
With 94 touchdowns over his entire college career, Browning leads Washington in all-time passing touchdowns. His six-touchdown games in 2016 against Oregon and Cal also top the all-time single-game record for the Huskies. Browning’s 12,296 career passing yards is also still a school record.
Was Browning Drafted?
Browning went undrafted in the 2019 NFL Draft. He was later picked up as a UDFA by the Minnesota Vikings before signing with their practice squad. The shoulder injury that Browning suffered in 2017 hampered his draft stock, with teams questioning his lack of arm strength.
The arm strength was such a concern that he visited specialists in California to build up the strength in his throwing arm during the NFL Draft cycle.
Browning worked with 3DQB, who specializes in throwing mechanics, who also worked with Tom Brady, Drew Brees, and Alex Smith. As reported by the Seattle Times, 3DQB hooked Browning up to a baseball machine that found he wasn’t adequately using his hips and core to generate strength.
“With most guys, we can find through strength or mechanics that we can get more out of them,” Adam Dedeaux from 3DQB said. “With [Browning], it was, OK, there’s something already there. We don’t have to build, we have to tap into it. Let’s find it.”
After getting help with his arm strength, Browning signed with the Vikings as a UDFA, who offered him an enticing $495,000 contract with $125,000 guaranteed for 2019.
Browning worked with the practice squad in Minnesota, applying what he had learned in his strength training. He was cut in August 2021 before signing with the Bengals’ practice squad.
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