INDIANAPOLIS — DeShone Kizer was calm, cool, and collected under the bright lights of the NFL's scouting combine Friday.
The Notre Dame quarterback and potential first-round draft pick met with reporters Friday and made the case he can be a starter from Day 1.
"Playing at Notre Dame I think is the biggest stage in college football, especially being the quarterback there," he said.
"Not only are you representing 80,000 people who are in that stadium every day, but you're also representing the second-biggest Catholic institution in the world. With that international fan base, there's a lot of responsibility for the quarterback. I was able to take that, own it and make it mine."
The 21-year-old from Toledo also showed poise during a podium session in which he took ownership of a 4-8 season in 2016 that has raised concern over his ability to elevate the play of his teammates.
"Going into that season we were pretty confident. I was pretty confident in my abilities. But after the end of the year and after a lot of film study and reflecting on the season, the ball's in my hands every play. I've just gotta make more plays," he said, referencing a midseason slump that watched split time at quarterback.
"I just didn't make enough plays. The ball's in my hand every play. It's my job at Notre Dame to put us in position to win games, to trust in the guys around me and develop the guys around me to make those plays with me."
Even so, Kizer, a two-year starter for the Fighting Irish, is considered one of the best signal-callers in this year's class, alongside North Carolina's Mitchell Trubisky and Clemson's Deshaun Watson. A big-bodied quarterback (6 foot 4, 230 pounds) with a big arm, Kizer passed for 2,935 yards, 26 touchdowns and nine interceptions in a junior season.
The Browns, armed with the first and 12th overall picks, said they'll take a careful look at the quarterbacks here in Indianapolis. That includes Kizer and dissecting why the Fighting Irish struggled last season with him under center.
"We'll definitely dig into that and understand why but I try not to, again, I try to look at the player and what he's able to do and where he us," head coach Hue Jackson said Thursday. "Those things are also things you gotta know and understand about the player because he's very talented and we want to know why that happened. But we'll cross all the T's and dot all the I's to know everything about the player."
Kizer will throw in front of teams Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium in another effort to show them he's worth an investment. He also wants them to know he's grown from those high and lows in South Bend.
"I would love to be a top pick. The way this draft is set up, to be a top pick most likely you're going to go into a situation with a team that's coming off a season like I went through last year," he said.
"To learn from that 2015 season compared to the 2016 season, I think it allows me to understand the winning culture. When you're doing nothing but winning your entire life, being at an elite high school and winning championships and going to the 2015 as I did, you really don't understand what a winning culture is until you have something to compare it to.
"You understand what it takes to be a winner. I can't wait to join another team and get back to winning."