Cleveland Browns: Week 3 college football quarterback tracker
2.) DeShone Kizer, RS Sophomore, Notre Dame, 6-foot-4, 230 pounds, 20 years old
DeShone Kizer is an Ohioan, as he attended Central Catholic High school in Toledo. Kizer, a four-star recruit out of high schoo,l was redshirted his true freshman year. Last season, as a redshirt freshman, Kizer started 11 games including the BattleFrog Fiesta Bowl against Ohio State following starting quarterback Malik Zaire’s injury. Kizer completed 63 percent of his passes, throwing for 2,884 yards and 21 touchdowns in 2015.
Both quarterbacks strived in Brian Kelly’s offense and a quarterback competition began this spring for the Irish. Kelly could not choose a starter between both quarterbacks and entered Week 1 at Texas saying he would play both quarterbacks.
Kizer started the game and rotated a few series with Zaire. However, it was evident early in the game who the starter was. Kizer had command, control and looked like a complete prospect, throwing for 215 yards and five touchdowns in the overtime loss for the Irish. He also added 77 yards on the ground and rushed for one score.
Kizer is what scouts look for in a quarterback prospect. Lance Zierlein and Daniel Jeremiah from NFL Network reported earlier this week saying scouts already prefer Kizer over Watson saying, “Kizer has the size, arm strength and passing acumen that NFL teams look for.”
All Kizer needs to do is continue to put together solid game tape for NFL coaches and scouts as he only has 13 college starts under his belt heading into this weekend’s big matchup against Michigan State.
Strengths: Kizer checks off all the boxes for what scouts look for in an NFL quarterback. Kizer is big, strong and has the arm strength and passing accuracy from the pocket that NFL teams covet. He Has shown the skill set to make all the throws and appears to have the mindset to “win” from the pocket first.
For being 230 pounds, Kizer is very mobile and has shown the ability to scramble and run for yardage when plays break down. What I have liked most from Kizer in his young career is that he only runs at last resort or if it is a designed quarterback run. Kizer also appears to be advanced at reading defenses and working through progressions for only having a limited number of starts under his belt. He throws with great anticipation on timing routes, especially over the middle. He possesses advanced passing ability beyond his redshirt sophomore status. Kizer looks poised and comfortable from the pocket and that ultimately will lead him a long way.
Needs Improvement: Kizer doesn’t appear to have many flaws in the limited number of game tapes I have watched on him. However, what stands out is that he often throws with all arm. On many throws, he doesn’t incorporate his lower body and relies solely on his arm strength. This causes some throws to die before reaching their target. Another flaw is that he sometimes tries to release the ball so quickly and with high velocity it causes him to be inaccurate in the short and intermediate passing game. All the flaws I have seen with Kizer are mechanical issues and can be improved upon.
Early Comparison: Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Both quarterbacks are similar in size at about 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds, the ideal size for an NFL signal caller. Winston excels from beating defenses from the pocket with his arm. Much like Kizer has shown thus far in his career. Both quarterbacks are athletic enough to beat you with their legs but their primary focus is shredding secondaries in the pocket.
Winston burst onto the college football scene the season after E.J. Manuel was drafted in the first round by the Buffalo Bills. Kizer, the subject of quarterback controversy this summer, has earned the Irish’s starting quarterback job which has already led to him becoming the top quarterback prospect in the country.
2016 Performance: Entering Week 1, no one really knew how the snaps would break down between Kizer and Zaire against Texas. As we know now, Kizer dazzled, scoring six total touchdowns in an epic overtime battle. Despite the loss, Kizer has rightfully won the Notre Dame starting quarterback job for the rest of the season.
This first play comes from the fourth quarter of the Texas game where Notre Dame trails by three. Texas shows as if they’re going to blitz seven but only bring five as two linebackers drop into coverage. Pressure gets to Kizer quickly, but he stays poised in the pocket. Kizer has his running back, Josh Adams, running a wheel out of the backfield and knows a linebacker will be on him one-on-one. Kizer realizes the man-to-man mismatch and delivers a great ball down the sideline for the touchdown. It was an NFL like throw by Kizer as he showcased the ability to throw a touch ball perfectly located for his receiver.
This next play is an interception from last weekend’s win against Nevada. Kizer is taking a deep shot down the right sideline. The receiver has a step on the defender but Kizer underthrows it and is picked off by the trailing cornerback. This is not an arm strength issue but a mechanical issue. He made this throw with all arm. Despite using a small shuffle step before throwing, Kizer doesn’t have power in his legs when he made this throw. His is an arm throw and the result is an underthrown ball for an interception.
Next Game: Saturday, September 17th 7:30 p.m, 12 Michigan State vs. 18 Notre Dame
Next: Kaaya and Kelly