DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame
Kizer has the ability to become a quality starter but has to improve his ball placement and field vision first. He started the season strong (five touchdown passes against Texas in the opener) but fell into a midseason slump that saw him benched for Malik Zaire at times. He threw for 2,925 yards and 26 touchdowns for the 4-8 Irish last year and received sufficient positive feedback from NFL sources about his ability to leave school.
6’4” and 230 pounds, and thickly built, Kizer is the perfect size for a QB in the NFL. He will be able to not only take hits but shake off hits and keep going. He will be able to see the entire field and passes probably will not be batted down at the line nearly as much as a Drew Brees or Mitch Trubisky even.
Kizer has an absolute cannon at QB. Comparable to Matthew Stafford in terms of arm strength, his offensive coordinator can call up a bevy of plays for him as he can reach any part of the field. If he can have accuracy, he can make any throw into any window. The ball just zips out of his hand with ridiculous velocity and gets to his target at an insane rate. Same as Mitch Trubisky, he is still learning that there are windows he cannot fit the ball in right now, and this could lead to some interceptions at the NFL Level. His accuracy is also very spotty. Can make a dazzling throw, and then miss his target by 10 feet. His deep ball is nice, however, showing touch and ability to locate it consistently. Throws in front of receivers on crossing routes, which is a nice bonus. Very good at leading receivers.
Kizer has inconsistent footwork, to almost poor footwork. When he can get out of the pocket, he is able to scramble and pick up many yards for his team, which is a tough element to gameplan for, especially if he can become a better passer. However, he lets himself get sacked too much, doesn’t step up in the pocket consistently enough. Sometimes he tries to escape the pocket with a contain up and he is taken down quickly. Other mechanical parts of his game include a long, over the top release that takes a while to get going. He sometimes tries to pump fake one too many times, which can get him sacked. Very skittish in the pocket, the first hint of pressure gets him to leave it.
In order for DeShone Kizer to make it in the NFL, he will have to be able to read defenses and anticipate throwing windows, while making his decision making more consistent. He often eyeballs his primary read and makes it easy for the defense to know where he is going. He sometimes decides where he is going to throw it before the play happens and misses other open receivers. When he is making his reads and going through his progressions, he is very hesitant, and will usually just roll out. The pump fake can be nice, as it opens up throwing windows fairly consistently. His decision making has major lapses in judgment, as he will decide to make a throw where there are 3-4 people around the receiver. NFL Teams cannot start him right away, he will struggle mightily if this is allowed to happen.
DeShone Kizer is a powerful, athletic QB who has all the physical traits to be a top tier QB yet has very poor mental game. He could go anywhere from the top 5 to the 2nd round. Round one, expect Arizona, Cleveland, or Chicago to take a look, and round 2 it would not be surprising if he went to New Orleans or Buffalo.