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DeShone Kizer: I can be greatest quarterback ever to play in NFL

4/21/2017 7:30:12 AM
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DeShone Kizer says he has the ability to be the greatest quarterback ever to play the game, Tom Pelissero of USA Today reports.

No quarterback prospect in next week’s NFL draft has been picked apart quite like Kizer since he declared in the wake of Notre Dame’s 4-8 finish and his own uneven play. Depending whom you ask inside the league, he could be just the fourth or fifth QB taken after North Carolina’s Mitchell Trubisky, Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes, Clemson’s Deshaun Watson and Cal’s Davis Webb. But if you want to buy Kizer as a worthy first-round pick, this is a good place to start.

In the spread offense era of college football, where most coaches keep things simple for players and try to win with pure speed and precision, Kizer had what former Irish offensive coordinator Mike Sanford calls a “really rare” level of control – the ability to not only choose and manipulate protections, but manipulate the calls themselves. Run to run. Run to pass. Pass to run. And not just a “kill” call to a predetermined alternative. The playbook was at Kizer’s disposal.

Of course, that can cause problems when you’re running with a bunch of freshman receivers trying to remember hand signals and route depths with the game on the line. (Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly simplified things late in the season for a reason.) But Kizer has left little doubt he has the mental bandwidth required of NFL quarterbacks. And for a stretch during his nearly two seasons as the starter, Kizer’s size (6-foot-4, 230 pounds), skills and production in that complicated system suggested he should be a candidate for the No. 1 overall pick.

“Name a college quarterback who goes into the game-plan meetings on Monday and throws his notes at the coaches,” Kizer said. “No one else game plans the way I do. No one else prepares the way I do. No one else knows football the way I do. No one else is as big as I am. No one else is as powerful a runner as I am. Pat Mahomes might throw the ball 80 yards and I can only throw the ball 72, but I guarantee he can’t throw an out route the way I can.

“No one else can do what I can do. And I’ve truly figured out in this (draft) process, if I can maximize all my potential in every aspect of the game – this is bold – I do have the ability to be the greatest quarterback to ever play. Imagine taking (Tom) Brady’s intellect and Brady’s preparation and putting it on a guy with Cam Newton’s body. Why can’t I be the greatest? The only thing stopping me from it is me. That’s what’s driving me now.”

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