Weight: 230 pounds
School: Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Combine Performance Data
40-yard dash: 4.83 seconds
Vertical jump: 30.5 inches
Broad jump: 8 feet, 11 inches
Three-cone drill: 7.40 seconds
20-yard shuttle: 4.53 seconds
DeShone Kizer 2017 NFL Draft Profile
DeShone Kizer found himself thrust into the spotlight rather abruptly. Late in the third quarter of Notre Dame’s 34-27 win over Virginia in week two of the 2015 season, incumbent starter Malik Zaire left the game due to injury. It turned out to be a season-ending broken ankle, making the redshirt freshman Kizer the go-to guy at quarterback the rest of the way.
Uncertainty abounded in the immediate aftermath of Zaire’s injury. But it didn’t take long for Kizer to assuage the concerns of Irish fans. He completed 70 percent of his passes in his first start against Georgia Tech, a 30-22 victory. It included a 46-yard bomb to Will Fuller on his fifth pass of the game to give ND an early 7-0 lead.
Despite a narrow loss to eventual College Football Playoff finalist Clemson two games later, Kizer helped the Irish remain in the national title conversation for most of the year. The Toledo, OH native finished with 2,880 pass yards, 21 touchdowns and ten interceptions. He was one of 24 quarterbacks in the nation with a quarterback rating of 150 or higher. And he also added 525 yards as well as a school record ten touchdowns on the ground.
A year later, amidst a forgettable 4-8 campaign, Kizer still enjoyed some bright spots. He threw for five touchdowns in the season opener against Texas and his quarterback rating exceeded 150 in half of the team’s games. He also finished with fewer interceptions than the year before.
- quintessential NFL quarterback frame;
- quick and effortless release of the football;
- authoritative pocket presence;
- immensely poised player able to make accurate throws under pressure;
- throws a phenomenal deep ball;
- excels at hitting receivers in stride on crossing routes;
- has no problem threading the ball into tight windows;
- possesses requisite arm strength to succeed at next level;
- legitimate dual-threat in the red zone.
- only has two seasons worth of starting experience at collegiate level;
- will overly key in on initial read without cycling through progressions;
- tends to force the issue at times, affecting decision-making;
- must learn to throw the ball away instead of taking costly sacks;
- can let mistakes snowball mentally, leading to more mistakes;
- concerns over big-game ability after late struggles in key games.
NFL Comparison: Marcus Mariota
Teams With Need at Position: Arizona Cardinals, Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns, Houston Texans, New York Jets, San Francisco 49ers
Projection: mid-first round
The Mariota comparison is bold, especially considering how impressive the former Oregon star has been in his first two years as a pro. But both possess similar builds and are mobile quarterbacks without letting that element of their game dominate the conversation. It’s why Kizer is such a coveted prospect among this year’s crop of signal callers.
There are obvious concerns about Kizer’s dearth of collegiate experience. With only 15 games under his belt, teams have reason to count his lack of game reps as a knock against him. That said, his ceiling at the next level given his overall skill set has scouts and front office executives excited about his potential as an NFL starter down the line.
For that reason, expect Kizer to be among the 32 players whose names get called on day one of the draft. With a few teams in need of a quarterback in the top ten, it’s possible he’s off the board early on.