Teams & Conferences

DeShone Kizer Declares For NFL: 2017 Draft Projection, What Will Notre Dame Do Next?

Notre Dame QB DeShone Kizer Declares For the 2017 NFL Draft


Notre Dame QB DeShone Kizer declares for the 2017 NFL Draft. Where will he go? Was it the right or wrong move? What’s next for Notre Dame?


Contact @PeteFiutak

QB Notre Dame QB DeShone Kizer, Jr.

The 6-4, 230-pound redshirt sophomore was thrown into the spotlight last season after starting quarterback Malik Zaire was injured early on. Kizer more than came through, coming achingly close to taking the Fighting Irish to the College Football Playoff, hitting 63% of his passes for 2,880 yards and 21 scores with ten picks, and running for 520 yards and ten scores.

This year, after a battle with Zaire for the starting job, he struggled with his accuracy at times – hitting 59% of his throws – for 2,925 yards and 26 scores with nine picks, while running for 472 yards and eight touchdowns. But there’s a built-in excuse – the Irish offense lost almost all the key receivers from 2015.

He looked and plays up to the part, with the size, mobility, and next-level arm to be exactly what NFL teams are going to want. While he can run, that’s just a part of his game, not a defining aspect of it. He’s a pro passer with the type of gun to drive throws all over the field – he can make every pass possible.

Now he needs to get with a top quarterback coach to work on his consistency and accuracy. Once it all comes together, he could be the best quarterback in this year’s draft, and last year’s.

DeShone Kizer Draft Projection

First Round, likely top ten overall. On tools alone, he’s got the skills and the potential to be the high-riser in the process. Once he gets into workouts and caught in the combine machine, the scouts and GMs are going to love him either more. Possibly the biggest X factor in the 2017 NFL Draft, he could go No. 1 overall – possibly to Cleveland – or could sink to the late first round depending on how well North Carolina’s Mitch Trubisky and Clemson’s Deshaun Watson show in the pre-draft process.

Can He Play In The League?

Absolutely. It’s not going to take as long as everyone thinks. The prevailing thought it that he’ll need at least a season or two before he figures out how to throw more consistently and to tighten up his throwing motion a bit – whatever. He’s not going to be an MVP candidate right away, but he could start for Cleveland, Chicago, or San Francisco this weekend.

Right or Wrong Move?

The absolutely right move at the right time. Does he want another year under Brian Kelly? It wouldn’t help him in any way, and even with several good quarterback prospects coming out this year, there isn’t a sure-thing No. 1 QB. That could be Kizer. Next year, that might be Lamar Jackson or Josh Rosen. Considering what Los Angeles and Philadelphia did to move up to get Jared Goff and Carson Wentz, respectively, don’t be shocked if someone falls in love with Kizer’s Pro Bowl upside and sells the farm to move up for him.

What’s Next For Notre Dame?

The Fighting Irish appeared to be set for the 2017 season with either Kizer or Malik Zaire at the helm. Kizer is gone to the next level, and Zaire is looking at both Wisconsin and North Carolina. And now it might be Wimbush or bust.

It’s likely Brandon Wimbush’s job to lose. The current sophomore, has a little bit of experience – he threw five passes as a freshman and redshirted this year – but he’s it. The 6-1, 225-pounder is a dual-threat playmaker who can run like a tough running back and has good enough accuracy to keep the passing game going – he fits what Brian Kelly wants.

Redshirt freshman Ian Book is the dark-horse and will get his shots, but the 5-11, 200-pounder out of California is almost certainly the entrenched No. 2 man, at best.