Scout Report – DeShone Kizer

  • Position: Quarterback
  • Previous Team: Notre Dame Fighting Irish (College)
  • Status: Draft Prospect

Age: 21,   Height: 6’4,   Weight: 230 lbs,   Experience: 2 years (college)

Michigan State v Notre Dame
while his stats do not shine like the rest of the incoming draft class, Kizer is still a deadly accurate passing threat

Scouted Games: 3 (Week 6 @ NC State, Week 9 vs. Miami U, Week 12 vs. Virginia Tech)

  • Average opposing defense rank: 56.2
  • Average opposing pass defense rank: 61.3

kizer-stats

Strengths:

  • A deadly accurate passer who has routinely hit routes from almost any distance and route, though favors mid-range targets on the outside, preferably on the right side of the field.
  • Thrives is a west coast style offense with quick passes
  • Very meticulous on pre-snap reads, will wait a couple seconds to scope out the defense before attacking
  • Impressive vision downfield, even when pressure is coming, always looking downfield for the open receiver
  • Able to play in extreme weather environments, showcased @ NC State during Hurricane Matthew, though his stats were horrendous because of weather, he still was able to accurately throw the ball. Most incompletions were the result of receivers dropping the pass rather than Kizer overthrowing them
  • Is not afraid to audible should the defense show a mismatch
  • Has good feet and can move around the pocket to avoid sacks
kizer-gif
Kizer (14) showcases superb sleight of hand with a fake hand off/pitch combo

Weaknesses:

  • Can get careless with the ball when evading would be sackers. Includes running with one hand on the ball outstretched from body.
  • Has a habit of only looking at one side of the field during medium and timely pass plays
  • Tends to only look at one receiver during pass plays, sometimes even waiting for the one target to get open rather than scanning for another receiver
  • Hit or miss on selling a fake hand off, sometimes he can draw the entire defense towards him, other times it appears he doesn’t even try. Has caused problems for Play Action passes, most notably against Miami and NC State
  • favors throwing low balls to high lobs, which can cause incomplete passes on short routes, and defenders the opportunity to bat the pass down.
  • on occasion cuts corners on passing motion, leading to some pretty strange incompletions
  • while athletic enough to scramble when needed, is a fairly subpar runner with little in his moveset. Usually will simply cover up the ball and fall, or bounce to the sideline.
  • Does not run with power, and too often slows feet when defenders get near.
Kizer gif 2.gif
While accuracy is one of his greatest strengths, Kizer does have a tendency to miss some easy targets

Overall:

It is easy to understand why NFL teams and analysts have given such a high value to Kizer despite being ranked 41st in passing during the 2016 college season. Kizer shows exceptional accuracy and touch on the ball, and his command of the huddle and offense is definitely a huge asset teams are looking for in the NFL. He was able to showcase his talent against some fairly tough opposition, as Michigan State, NC State, Miami, and V Tech all had fairly high ranking pass defenses. What really sticks out about this guy is his levelheadedness, and ability to keep looking downfield despite defenses constricting the pocket. Few quarterbacks coming into the draft can boast such a stone statue resilience behind a crumbling line. Kizer is not without his faults though, and his biggest problem is his own isolation of the field when throwing. Kizer will only ever look at one side of the field on a given play, and will usually take off running before looking to the other side. He is also predictable on where he is going to throw as his favorite spot on the field is the outside routes between 6-10 yards from line of scrimmage. He has also benefited from playing defenses that are similar in makeup. Both NC State and Miami ran the 4-3 against him, and while the former blitzed significantly more than the latter, Kizer benefited from a secondary that was isolated from the rest of the defense, and could more or less figure out where to throw the ball. Away from his passing, Kizer is also a fairly subpar runner. He does not run with the same power or finesse you would see from other QBs. This is not to say he won’t take off when needed, he usually keeps the scramble in his back pocket to keep defenses honest. But that does not mean that he will gain any significant yardage with his own evasive moves. When it comes down to it, Kizer is also not a winning quarterback. he was in command of an offense that saw the team go 4-8, and while you could argue he was the passer of the 10-3 team from 2015, his lack of passing stats compared to his fellow prospects leave him in a strange state of limbo as to whether he is actually responsible for the team’s success, or just a product of it. Regardless of this, Kizer has the necessary skills to elevate his game to the next level; And given enough tutelage, could produce a rookie season similar to a Russell Wilson or Teddy Bridgewater.

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