The Pittsburgh Steelers seem to be in the market for a quarterback, but how early? Analysts seem to think selection 30 is a possible spot for one. Kizer has been linked to the Steelers at that juncture, could he be the heir to Big Ben? Will the Steelers pull the trigger on a quarterback that early?
DeShone Kizer #14 | Notre Dame
6’4 233lbs | RS Sophomore
What’s to like: NFL size. Relaxed pocket presence, climbs the latter well. Very accurate on short-intermediate throws. Good on his feet, is a threat as a runner but has a pass-first mentality. According to NFL.com, Kizer posted 18 rushing touchdowns the past two seasons. Can make all throws asked of him. Has a tremendous arm. Excels at throwing at bigger targets, knows where to put the ball where only that target can get it. Footwork is a plus, just needs to trust himself after three seconds. Attempts to make a play in non-ideal situations: taking a big hit, while getting sacked, escaping the pocket etc. Not a ton of experience, but that makes him all the more desirable since he has all the traits.
Concerns: Needs to improve on leading receivers. Takes sacks more often than necessary. Fixed on his first target too long and often, makes him easier to read. Too many lazy interceptions on bad reads. According to NFL.com. Kizer threw at least one interception in 15 of his 23 started games. Drops his eyes when first couple reads unavailable. Shoots for the tight window more often than he should, those windows are non-existent, or rare in the NFL. Looks like he may not trust himself at times, hesitant and then becomes fussed. Confidence was shaken by his coach.
Verdict: A medium-rare prospect in terms of rawness. Has experience but not enough. Will benefit from a better coach, environment, and support system. His flaws are decision based and I believe can be fixed with proper coaching and experience. Has the arm strength, accuracy, pocket presence (when comfortable) and footwork. I saw a lot of drops and fumbles from his receivers, which tweaked his numbers a bit. If Kizer isn’t thrown into the fire, he can develop very smoothly into an NFL quarterback. I would only take Kizer, or any QB for that matter, at pick 30 if and only if this is Ben Roethlisberger’s final season. With the luxury 3rd round compensatory pick, it really is tough to rule out anything.
2016 Stats: 212/361 (58.7 % completion) for 2925 yards. 26 TD, 9 INT. Rushed 129 times for 472 yards (3.7 avg). 8 rush TD. 1 punt for 37 yards against Stanford.
Grade: Early Round 2 | Projection: First Round
Games watched: Stanford 2016, Duke 2016, USC 2016, Miami (FL) 2016, Syracuse 2016
Stats courtesy: Sports-Reference, NFL.com
Photo courtesy: CSN Chicago
Video courtesy: DraftBreakdown.com