2017 NFL Draft: Notre Dame expert gives insight on DeShone Kizer
By John McCarty
Is Kizer viewed as being part of the problem last year or 2016 in South Bend simply was bad all around and Kizer was caught in that mess?
I wouldn’t say it was Kizer. Notre Dame was young on defense, Brian Kelly wasn’t meant to control the play calling on offense, and the offensive line struggled all season. Kizer was, at some points, the only good thing Notre Dame had going for it last year. After the arrest of three of the team’s best defensive players, the defense couldn’t give any support to the offense. A few times last year Kizer was throwing three plus touchdowns and the Irish still lost.
From afar, Kizer appears to have had a far better 2015 then 2016. What factors do people view as the reason the Irish went from a Fiesta Bowl team to 4-8?
Actually, as poor as Notre Dame did last season, Kizer’s numbers were better than his sophmore year. The young defense, especially in the secondary hurt Notre Dame a lot. The arrest of players like Max Redfield made their secondary very young which you saw in every game this season. On the offensive end, the offensive line didn’t click in every game and Kizer had to make something out of nothing more times than not. It was just inexperience all around that hurt the Irish.
How good/bad was the Notre Dame defense this past season, and what impact did their performance have on the 2016 season?
Notre Dame’s defense was the biggest reason they struggled. It was one of the youngest units in the NCAA and it showed each week, No other team would put up 20-plus points per contest and still walk away 4-8 at the end of the year. Without the last minute off the field issues they had to deal with before the season, this team would’ve been a much better competitor. But when you have to toss guys in who aren’t ready to start you can’t expect much to happen.
Do you believe the offensive system/philosophy fit what Kizer’s strengths are?
The system definitely fit Kizer. He’s got a big arm and Brian Kelly was all about going deep whether it was over the middle or on the outside. You saw it in the numbers that Kizer felt comfortable making deep throws and that the offense was centered around his skills. Coach Kelly used Kizer as much as he can and customized the gameplan to allow him to work best with the receivers around him.
What does an NFL team drafting Kizer need to know about his play style/skill set/personality before handing him the reigns to the offense?
They need to know he’s a project. In a year or maybe even two, Kizer is one of the best young quarterbacks in the NFL. Right now, though, he’s still developing his mind and it’s going to take time before he’s ready to lead a team. You can’t expect to draft him and have him lead you to a Super Bowl right away. In a year or two, on the right team, is a different story, but you need to be patient with him.
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