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Profiling the Prospects: Notre Dame QB DeShone Kizer out to show he's NFL ready


Over the next month, will break down some of the best players in this year's NFL Draft class and what they could bring to Cleveland's youth-laden roster.*

Name:QB DeShone Kizer, Notre Dame

Measurables: 6-foot-4, 230 pounds

What makes him a first-round pick?

Kizer is a big, mobile and strong-armed quarterback who had his share of highs and lows at Notre Dame. The two-year starter completed 61 percent of his passes for 5,805 yards, 47 touchdowns and 19 interceptions (plus 18 rushing touchdowns) and helped lead the Fighting Irish to the Fiesta Bowl in 2015.

Last season, however, Notre Dame took a step back in a 4-8 campaign that saw Kizer struggle through a midseason slump. It was something the Toledo native tried to take ownership of at the league's annual scouting combine last month amid questions over his leadership and NFL readiness.

To be sure, Kizer has the prototypical size/physical toolbox to play at the next level and he's showed off some refined mechanics at his Pro Day last week.'s Lance Zierlein compared Kizer to late NFL quarterback Steve McNair "based primarily on size, mobility and arm strength."

"The aforementioned traits often land a quarterback in the first round," Zierlein continued, "but Kizer's second-half drop in production combined with inconsistent decision-making and accuracy should be a speed bump for teams ready to jump in head-first on the traits. Kizer has the ability to become a quality starter but has to improve his ball placement and field vision first."

Biggest college moment?

Kizer was electric in the 2016 season opener against Texas, completing 15-of-24 throws for 215 yards and six touchdowns. He also carried the ball 13 times for 77 yards and another touchdown in a 50-47 road win over the Longhorns.


Notre Dame QB DeShone Kizer passed for 2,935 yards, 26 touchdowns and nine interceptions in 2016.

How did he do at the combine?**

Kizer's stock among draft analysts fell after a so-so workout at the Combine and pedestrian numbers in the 40-yard dash (4.83 seconds) and other on-field drills. While those singular data points probably won't make or break him, it was a missed opportunity for Kizer while fellow top QBs Deshaun Watson, Mitchell Trubisky and Patrick Mahomes showed off their athleticism.

Quote to know

"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. 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."

Why he would make sense for the Browns?

The Browns, who currently have quarterbacks Cody Kessler, Kevin Hogan and Brock Osweiler on the roster, say they haven't yet found a long-term answer at the position. If Kizer has what head coach Hue Jackson needs from his quarterbacks, then it's certainly possible Cleveland could take him in the first round or, if he slips, with the first pick on Day 2.

Reasons why he won't be available at No. 12?

Quarterback is the most important position in football and Kizer has the size/arm talent to play at the next level. It wouldn't be shocking if a team in the top 11 falls in love with his physical traits or takes him as something of a short-term developmental project.

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