Thursday, March 9, 2017

2017 NFL Draft Profile: DeShone Kizer

DeShone Kizer, Notre Dame
6-4, 230
Kizer has a ton of hit or miss challenges to deal with, as he is, like Trubisky, an early entry. Nobody is completely sold on Kizer, and most wanted to see another season in college. As a junior in 2016, the team completely fell apart around him, making him a man on an island during a 4-8 campaign. He passed for 2925 yards, with 26 TDs and 9 picks. As a sophomore, he came out of nowhere to take over and lead the Irish to a strong season in which he passed for 2880 yards, 21 TDs, and 10 picks. He rushed for 520 yards and 10 scores as a sophomore, and 472 yards and 8 scores as a junior.
The Good
Kizer has an NFL build, and is a very fluid athlete, as was evident by his total 992 yards rushing and 18 scores in 2 seasons with the Irish. He can scramble well within the pocket and make all of the throws on the run going to his strong side. If he keeps to the pocket, with adequate protection, he can throw the deep ball with considerable accuracy once he plants himself and throws. Once he established himself as a sophomore, Kizer took over like a guy who had been the leader all of the time, and really showed very few deficiencies until late in the season, with exception to turnovers, where he threw picks in 5 of 6 games. He is solid at reading defenses and knowing where he has the advantage in the secondary, and knows when to pick up and run when he doesn't have one. He wastes very few reps. He threw 47 TDs in 2 seasons.
The Bad
There was regression in accuracy in 2016, as he dipped almost 4 full points in completion percentage. Of course, the entire team imploded around him, and one cannot blame it all on his play. He did increase TD passes by 5, while dropping his pick total by 1, but he still managed to throw 19 picks in 23 games, which is hardly an indicator of being a great decision maker all of the time. Like most Notre Dame QBs under Brian Kelly, he played with a great deal of pressure, as Kelly was known to yell and scream all of the time. He often tried to take too much on as a result. His QBR also dropped by almost 5 full points in 2016 as the team struggled from weak to weak.
Final Overview
Almost everyone in the business was unhappy with Kizer's decision to not go back to school in 2017. He is an incomplete player who has work to do, and could be looked at as nothing more than an early round developmental pick, as he would likely be destroyed as a rookie trying to play significant minutes in 2017.
He has to work hard on improving his reads, and has to make better decisions with the football, as he is a turnover machine of sorts. When he is on, he may be the best overall QB in this class, but when he doesn't have his head right, he can be a mess and make poor decisions. He may just be the most frustrating QB in this class, as he is the epitome of the saying "some days are diamond, some days are stone".
He has not put everything together yet, and has not won enough to make me a believer, as Notre Dame is just 14-11 during his 2 seasons. I can easily see a second round grade for him, but it may be that someone will reach higher, and that would be a huge mistake. He will need time to ripen on the vine under a dedicated QB coach to get him ready.

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