If former Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback DeShone Kizer is to be a first-round NFL Draft pick, it’ll be as a selection of the Cleveland Browns, Arizona Cardinals, Houston Texans or Kansas City Chiefs.
I’m tracking 167 analysts who release mock drafts — everyone from ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. to FullerMetrics’ Samuel Fuller — and, as a collective, they’re still bullish on Kizer being a first round pick. Fifty-five percent think he’s going anywhere from No. 2 to No. 32. That consensus is slightly more favorable to Kizer if we only consider mock drafts released since his March 23 Pro Day outing.
KIZER TO THE BROWNS AT NO. 12?
Before the NFL Combine, the hivemind was often pairing Kizer with the Browns. While the league’s worst franchise is still the destination for the Toledo, Ohio product in 11 percent of all mocks I’m looking at, that number is dropping significantly as of late.
The Browns own the No. 1 overall pick — with almost unanimous consensus behind Texas A&M’s Myles Garrett. It’s the 12th pick that’s in flux. Many say the Browns are high on North Carolina Tar Heels’ quarterback Mitch Trubisky or Alabama tight end O.J. Howard, while others believe the Clemson Tigers’ quarterback Deshaun Watson will be picked.
In the past seven days, only two analysts — the Houston Chronicle’s Aaron Wilson and The Sports Bank’s Paul M. Banks — out of 48 have released mocks that match Kizer with the Browns. Six writers that published this week have moved Kizer from the No. 12 spot in their updated mocks. Three moved him to the Texans, one moved him to the Cardinals. Another had him dropping to the Chiefs and one had him falling out of the first round.
The Browns will offer a $13,784,444 contract (over four years) to their No. 12 pick, which includes the $8,165,048 signing bonus. That’s according to Over The Cap.
KIZER TO THE CARDINALS AT NO. 13?
With the Browns possibly favoring Trubisky or Watson, how far may Kizer fall? The answer, 15 percent of analysts I studied say, is not very far.
There’s a certain logic to it. The Cardinals have 37-year-old quarterback Carson Palmer signed to a guaranteed deal through 2018, so they’ll be able to give their QB of the future some time with a great mentor.
Cardinals coach Bruce Arians is apparently high on one of the quarterbacks in this year’s draft:
“I’m not going to mention names — [but] I think one of them is probably ready to start as a rookie. All the rest, there are some really talented arms that need a year of learning how to play the position, especially at this level. If you’re plug-and-play then this draft is very small, but if you have time to bring them along then this draft is large because the talent level is there.”
Does Arians share the perspective of Cardinals general manager Steve Keim, who is reportedly high on Trubisky? And if Trubisky is off the board before No. 13, is it because the Cardinals traded up to grab him — or the San Francisco 49ers, NY Jets or Buffalo Bills picked him with their Top 10 spots? Is Kizer a fall-back plan if Trubisky is gone? These are all questions that cannot be answered until April 27, the first day of the draft.
The Cardinals will offer a $13,410,456 contract (over four years) to their No. 13 pick, which includes the $7,893,060 signing bonus.
KIZER TO THE TEXANS AT NO. 25?
Now it gets interesting.
There really isn’t a team between the Cardinals and the Texans at No. 25 that has a legitimate need for a quarterback. The Big Lead’s Jason McIntyre suggested this week that the Washington Redskins would pick Kizer at No. 17, but he’s — so far — the only one.
I haven’t heard or seen a scenario in which Kirk Cousins stays after next season. So what will the Redskins do? Impossible to tell, since they have no GM. The only name that has surfaced: Mike Mayock. You know who his #1 QB in this draft is, right? Kizer sits for a year, learns Jay Gruden’s system, and then they lose Cousins with a firm backup plan.
There’s one guy who thinks the Denver Broncos will snag Kizer at No. 20, another who sees Kizer as the quarterback-in-waiting behind Eli Manning, and a third who has devised a trade wherein Kizer goes to the 49ers at No. 24.
Right now, there’s consensus that the Texans will use this pick on either a quarterback or an offensive tackle. Kizer has been slotted to the Texans on seven of the 48 mock drafts published in the last week — and he’s the Texans’ choice on 19 mock drafts out of the 167 I’m watching.
Yet, there’s one quarterback who is slotted way more often than Kizer at No. 25 — the Texas Tech Red Raiders’ Patrick Mahomes. (But then again, maybe the Cardinals surprise and take Mahomes at No. 13.)
Arizona Cardinals have worked out Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes privately, sources say he excelled for large contingent of staffers— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) March 30, 2017
The Texans will offer a $10,293,862 contract (over four years) to their No. 25 pick, which includes the $5,626,444 signing bonus.
KIZER TO THE CHIEFS AT NO. 27?
The Chiefs are probably the Irish quarterback’s last hope for an outstanding rookie deal.
It’s possible that a team trades back into the first round for Kizer. They could do so because all first round picks have fifth-year team options attached to their contracts. Or they could because the Browns — with the first pick of Round 2 — or the 49ers — with the second pick — may still be hunting for a quarterback.
The Washington Times’ Nora Princotti wrote “An absolutely correct, definitely completely right first-round mock draft” in which she had the New Orleans Saints using their pick — the final one of the first round — on Kizer. So far, Princotti is the only one speculating that Kizer will be learning under Drew Brees this fall.
There is no consensus on who the Chiefs will pick at No. 27. Some see Mahomes. Others see Watson. A few see Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey or Western Michigan’s Corey Davis.
Of the 48 mocks released in the last week, four analysts put Kizer at No. 27: CBS Chicago’s Chris Emma, RealGM’s Jeff Risdon, Cover 32’s Jacob Infante, 4th & Goal’s Henry Buggy. In addition to those four, six more have Kizer to the Chiefs among the pool of 167 mock drafts.
The Chiefs will be out of Alex Smith’s contract by year’s end. Ditto for his backup, former Tennessee Volunteers signalcaller Tyler Bray. This seems like the time to draft a quarterback, unless they are looking to keep the 33-year-old Smith long term.
The Chiefs will offer a $10,044,536 contract (over four years) to their No. 27 pick, which includes the $5,445,116 signing bonus.
KIZER NOT ON DAY ONE?
Let’s take the 20 biggest names in the draft business and see where they shake out:
- The Big Lead’s Jason McIntyre: #17 to the Redskins
- Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller: #25 to the Texans
- CBS Sports’ Dane Brugler: #13 to the Cardinals
- CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco: Kizer is not a first round pick.
- CBS Sports’ Will Brinson: Not a first round pick
- ClevelandBrowns.com’s Nathan Zegura: #13 to the Cardinals
- ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr.: Not a first round pick
- ESPN’s Todd McShay: Not a first round pick
- ESPN Cleveland’s Tony Grossi: #13 to the Cardinals
- Fox Sports’ Peter Schrager: #12 to the Browns
- Houston Chronicle’s Aaron Wilson: #12 to the Browns
- Houston Chronicle’s John McClain: Not a first round pick
- Los Angeles Times’ Sam Farmer: Not a first round pick
- NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks: Kizer is not a first round pick.
- NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah: Not a first round pick.
- NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein: Not a first round pick
- Rivals’ Mike Farrell: Not a first round pick
- Rotoworld’s Josh Norris: #25 to the Texans
- Seahawks Draft Blog’s Rob Staton: Not a first round pick
- WKBW-TV (Buffalo)’s Joe Buscaglia: #36 (Fourth pick in the second round) to the Chicago Bears
Twelve of the 20 “bigs” think Kizer is not a first round pick. Second-round contracts start at $7.05 million (over four years). The lowest place I’ve seen Kizer in a mock draft is No. 105 to the Pittsburgh Steelers. If he fell that far, his contract would be worth $3.1 million with a little more than $700,000 as a signing bonus.
DeShone Kizer’s Position in Mock Drafts
|Draft analyst||Publication||Date of Mock||Kizer at...||Team|
|Draft analyst||Publication||Date of Mock||Kizer at...||Team|
|Aaron Wilson||Houston Chronicle||3/25/2017||12||n/a|
|Adam Gorney||Rivals||3/11/2017||Not in the first round||n/a|
|Adam Greene||Get More Sports||3/29/2017||25||Houston Texans|
|Adam Kurkjian||Athlon Sports||3/27/2017||25||Houston Texans|
|Andre Simone||BSN Denver||2/28/2017||12||Cleveland Browns|
|Andrew Gribble||ClevelandBrowns.com||3/07/2017||Not in the first round||n/a|
|Andrew Juge||This Given Sunday||3/21/2017||12||Cleveland Browns|
|Andrew Mason||DenverBroncos.com||3/21/2017||25||Houston Texans|
|Anthony Broome||247 Sports||3/22/2017||Not in the first round||n/a|
|Anthony Messina||Sports Blog||3/10/2017||Not in the first round||n/a|
|Art Stapleton||The Record (N.J.)||3/17/2017||Not in the first round||n/a|
|Ben Standig||CSN Mid-Atlantic||3/21/2017||27||Kansas City Chiefs|
|Bob McManaman||The Arizona Republic||2/16/2017||12||Cleveland Browns|
|Brad Weiss||FanSided||3/22/2017||Not in the first round||n/a|
|Brandon Yamrick||Real Sport||3/29/2017||Not in the first round||n/a|
|Brennan Smith||The Salt Lake Tribune||3/20/2017||13||Arizona Cardinals|
|Brent Sobleski||Bleacher Report||3/21/2017||34||San Francisco 49ers|
|Brian Johannes||NFL Draft Geek||3/22/2017||13||Arizona Cardinals|
|Brian Mazique||Forbes||3/30/2017||Not in the first round||n/a|
|Bryan Luis||INSC Magazine||3/13/2017||Not in the first round||n/a|
|Bucky Brooks||NFL.com||3/20/2017||Not in the first round||n/a|
|Carl Cockerham||With the First Pick||3/22/2017||Not in the first round||n/a|
|Chad Reuter||NFL.com||3/15/2017||13||Arizona Cardinals|
|Charean Williams||Fort Worth Star-Telegram||3/13/2017||Not in the first round||n/a|
|Charley Casserly||NFL.com||3/28/2017||Not in the first round||n/a|
|Charlie Campbell||WalterFootball||3/27/2017||34||San Francisco 49ers|
|Chris Burke||Sports Illustrated||3/29/2017||34||San Francisco 49ers|
|Chris Emma||CBS Chicago||3/29/2017||27||Kansas City Chiefs|
|Chris Fedor||Advance Media (Cleveland)||3/24/2017||13||Arizona Cardinals|
|Chris Ransom||Draft Utopia||3/29/2017||2||San Francisco 49ers|
|Chris Roling||Bleacher Report||3/20/2017||13||Arizona Cardinals|
|Cole Thompson||The Draft Wire||3/07/2017||27||Kansas City Chiefs|
|Connor Hughes||NJ.com||2/28/2017||13||Arizona Cardinals|
|Connor Reilly||SEC Country||3/26/2017||13||Arizona Cardinals|
|D. Orlando Ledbetter||Atlanta Journal-Constitution||3/29/2017||Not in the first round||n/a|
|D.J. Boyer||DraftSite.com||3/28/2017||13||Arizona Cardinals|
|Dan Bilicki||Toronto Sun||3/15/2017||13||Arizona Cardinals|
|Dan Duggan||NJ Advance Media||3/13/2017||12||Cleveland Browns|
|Dan Kadar||SB Nation||3/27/2017||13||Arizona Cardinals|
|Dan Schmelzer||NFL Spin Zone||2/27/2017||13||Arizona Cardinals|
|Dan Wilkins||The Score||3/07/2017||6||New York Jets|
|Dane Brugler||CBS Sports||3/28/2017||13||Arizona Cardinals|
|Daniel Jeremiah||NFL.com||3/13/2017||Not in the first round||n/a|
|Danny Kelly||The Ringer||3/28/2017||25||Houston Texans|
|DaRon Frost||Pro Players Insider||2/26/2017||12||Cleveland Browns|
|Dave Birkett||Detroit Free Press||3/15/2017||10||Buffalo Bills|
|David Harrison||The Pewter Plank||3/13/2017||Not in the first round||n/a|
|David McCracken||Bleacher Report||2/21/2017||20||Denver Broncos|
|David Wyatt||Gang Green Nation||2/16/2017||Not in the first round||n/a|
|Dieter Kurtenbach||Fox Sports||3/30/2017||13||Arizona Cardinals|
|Eddie Brown||San Diego Union-Tribune||3/22/2017||25||Houston Texans|
|Eliot Shorr-Parks||NJ Advance Media||3/27/2017||25||Houston Texans|
|Emily Kaplan||MMQB||3/07/2017||12||Cleveland Browns|
|Eric Edholm||Yahoo!||3/15/2017||13||Arizona Cardinals|
|Eric Galko||The Sporting News||3/20/2017||57||Houston Texans|
|Erik Lambert||NFL Mocks||3/25/2017||24||San Francisco 49ers|
|Gary Davenport||Bleacher Report||3/27/2017||13||Arizona Cardinals|
|George Stockburger||NFL Mocks||3/10/2017||25||Houston Texans|
|Greg Vorse||Spectrum News||3/29/2017||Not in the first round||n/a|
|Henry Buggy||4th And Goal||3/28/2017||27||Kansas City Chiefs|
|Hub Arkush||Pro Football Weekly||3/27/2017||Not in the first round||n/a|
|Ian Rhodes||Local 4 / Click on Detroit||3/29/2017||Not in the first round||n/a|
|Jacob Infante||Cover 32||3/27/2017||27||Kansas City Chiefs|
|Jacob Louque||Baltimore Beatdown||3/15/2017||Not in the first round||n/a|
|James Fedewa||National Fanatic||3/24/2017||30||Pittsburgh Steelers|
|James Kratch||NJ Advance Media||2/20/2017||Not in the first round||n/a|
|Jared Dubin||CBS Sports||3/24/2017||13||Arizona Cardinals|
|Jared Sherman||CSNPhilly.com||3/20/2017||Not in the first round||n/a|
|Jason B. Hirschhorn||Sports on Earth||3/08/2017||Not in the first round||n/a|
|Jason Lieser||Palm Beach Post||3/15/2017||Not in the first round||n/a|
|Jason McIntyre||The Big Lead||3/29/2017||17||Washington Redskins|
|Jay Skurski||The Buffalo News||3/24/2017||Not in the first round||n/a|
|Jayson Braddock||Scout||3/22/2017||32||Cleveland Browns|
|Jeff Mullen||NFL Draft Geeks||3/29/2017||25||Houston Texans|
|Jeff Risdon||RealGM||3/29/2017||27||Kansas City Chiefs|
|Joe Buscaglia||WKBW-TV (Buffalo)||3/22/2017||36||Chicago Bears|
|Joe Malfa||Turn on the Jets||3/24/2017||13||Arizona Cardinals|
|Joe Redemann||numberFire||3/03/2017||6||New York Jets|
|John Harris||Washington Post||3/21/2017||Not in the first round||n/a|
|John Manuel||Fanspeak||3/28/2017||Not in the first round||n/a|
|John McClain||Houston Chronicle||3/25/2017||Not in the first round||n/a|
|Jon Dove||With the First Pick||3/23/2017||Not in the first round||n/a|
|Jonathan K. Henson||Revenge of the Birds||3/20/2017||57||Houston Texans|
|Jonathan Valencia||Breaking Football||3/10/2017||23||New York Giants|
|Joseph Zucker||Bleacher Report||3/06/2017||Not in the first round||n/a|
|Josh Norris||Rotoworld||3/13/2017||25||Houston Texans|
|Justin Bales||FF Today||3/06/2017||27||Kansas City Chiefs|
|Justin Rogers||The Detroit News||3/21/2017||Not in the first round|
|Justis Mosqueda||Bleacher Report||1/23/2017||2||San Francisco 49ers|
|Keet Bailey||Breaking Football||3/17/2017||57||Houston Texans|
|Keith Mullins||Cowboys Wire||2/28/2017||3||Chicago Bears|
|Kenneth Arthur||Sports on Earth||3/28/2017||Not in the first round||n/a|
|Kevin Hansen||Eat Drink and Sleep Football||3/24/2017||25||Houston Texans|
|Kristopher Knox||Bleacher Report||3/29/2017||Not in the first round||n/a|
|Kyle Crabbs||FanRag Sports||3/06/2017||2||San Francisco 49ers|
|Kyle Davis||With the First Pick||3/09/2017||25||Houston Texans|
|Lance Zierlein||NFL.com||3/27/2017||Not in the first round||n/a|
|Lou Pickney||DraftKing.com||3/25/2017||13||Arizona Cardinals|
|Luke Easterling||The Draft Wire||3/16/2017||13||Arizona Cardinals|
|Mark Easson||MyNFLDraft.com||3/08/2017||27||Kansas City Chiefs|
|Mark Eckel||NJ Advance Media||3/20/2017||Not in the first round||n/a|
|Matt Burke||Metro.us||2/27/2017||34||San Francisco 49ers|
|Matt Falk||Draftseason||3/20/2017||25||Houston Texans|
|Matt Lombardo||NJ Advance Media||3/30/2017||25||Houston Texans|
|Matt Miller||Bleacher Report||3/07/2017||25||Houston Texans|
|Matthew Olson||Real Sport||3/10/2017||Not in the first round||n/a|
|Matthew Urben||SideLion Report||3/21/2017||Not in the first round||n/a|
|Maurice Moton||Bleacher Report||3/09/2017||Not in the first round||n/a|
|Max Himelstein||NFL Draft Blitz||3/22/2017||13||Arizona Cardinals|
|Mel Kiper Jr.||ESPN||3/22/2017||Not in the first round||n/a|
|Michael Pallas||The Jet Express||2/06/2017||Not in the first round||n/a|
|Michelle Bruton||Bleacher Report||3/21/2017||13||Arizona Cardinals|
|Micky McKeon||Mockout||3/27/2017||Not in the first round||n/a|
|Mike Farrell||Rivals||3/11/2017||Not in the first round||n/a|
|Mike Kaye||First Coast News||2/09/2017||Not in the first round||n/a|
|Nate Davis||USA Today||3/23/2017||Not in the first round||n/a|
|Nathan Zegura||ClevelandBrowns.com||3/07/2017||13||Arizona Cardinals|
|Nicholas Goss||NESN||3/23/2017||Not in the first round||n/a|
|Nick Klopsis||Newsday||2/27/2017||12||Cleveland Browns|
|Nick Rodriguez||Endzone Score||3/14/2017||17||Washington Redskins|
|Nik Edlund||NFL Draft Season||3/27/2017||33||Cleveland Browns|
|Nora Princiotti||The Washington Times||3/20/2017||32||New Orleans Saints|
|Oliver Connolly||All 22||3/01/2017||12||Cleveland Browns|
|Patrick Maks||ClevelandBrowns.com||3/07/2017||3||Chicago Bears|
|Paul Banks||The Sports Bank||3/23/2017||12||Cleveland Browns|
|Paul Hudrick||CSNPhilly.com||2/05/2017||10||Buffalo Bills|
|Pete Prisco||CBS Sports||3/29/2017||Not in the first round||n/a|
|Peter Schrager||Fox Sports||3/21/2017||12||Cleveland Browns|
|Phillip Heilman||The Florida Times-Union||3/24/2017||12||Cleveland Browns|
|R.J. White||CBS Sports||3/25/2017||Not in the first round||n/a|
|Randy Gurzi||NFL Spin Zone||3/09/2017||77||Arizona Cardinals|
|Richard Sena||Vavel||2/27/2017||Not in the first round||n/a|
|Rob Rang||CBS Sports||3/27/2017||Not in the first round||n/a|
|Rob Staton||Seahawks Draft Blog||3/28/2017||Not in the first round||n/a|
|Robert Davis||Football is Future||2/22/2017||13||Arizona Cardinals|
|Russell Brown||NFL Mocks||3/06/2017||27||Kansas City Chiefs|
|Ryan Griffith||Breaking Football||2/25/2017||3||Chicago Bears|
|Ryan McCrystal||DraftAce||2/17/2017||Not in the first round||n/a|
|Ryan Wilson||CBS Sports||3/22/2017||13||Arizona Cardinals|
|Sam Farmer||Los Angeles Times||3/02/2017||Not in the first round||n/a|
|Samuel Fuller||FullerMetrics||3/06/2017||Not in the first round||n/a|
|Scott Krinch||CSN Chicago||2/07/2017||12||Cleveland Browns|
|Scott Polacek||Bleacher Report||3/06/2017||12||Cleveland Browns|
|Staff||DraftTek||3/29/2017||27||Kansas City Chiefs|
|Staff||Fantasy Football Prophet||2/28/2017||Not in the first round||n/a|
|Stephen Cohen||Seattle Post-Intelligencer||3/16/2017||Not in the first round||n/a|
|Steve Palazzolo||Pro Football Focus||3/16/2017||Not in the first round||n/a|
|Steve Serby||NY Post||2/25/2017||12||Cleveland Browns|
|Steve Shoup||Fanspeak||3/29/2017||Not in the first round||n/a|
|Steve Silverman||Bleacher Report||2/27/2017||Not in the first round||n/a|
|Steven Petrella||Land of 10||3/29/2017||12||Cleveland Browns|
|Steven Ruiz||For the Win/USA Today||3/07/2017||25||Houston Texans|
|Tab Bamford||Daily Chicago Sports Tab||3/11/2017||2||San Francisco 49ers|
|Terez A. Paylor||Kansas City Star||3/17/2017||25||Houston Texans|
|Tim Campbell||Live 4 Sport Network||3/17/2017||Not in the first round||n/a|
|Todd McShay||ESPN||3/15/2017||Not in the first round||n/a|
|Tom Downey||Chat Sports||3/29/2017||25||Houston Texans|
|Tony Grossi||ESPN Cleveland||3/26/2017||13||Arizona Cardinals|
|Vasilis Lericos||Baltimore Beatdown||3/07/2017||25||Houston Texans|
|Vinnie Iyer||Sporting News||3/06/2017||12||Cleveland Browns|
|Walter Cherepinsky||WalterFootball||3/29/2017||38||Los Angeles Chargers|
|Will Brinson||CBS Sports||3/23/2017||Not in the first round||n/a|
|Will Carroll||ALL 22||1/24/2017||2||San Francisco 49ers|
|Xavier Cromartie||College Football Metrics||3/27/2017||Not in the first round||n/a|
|Zach Goodall||Big Cat Country||3/13/2017||25||Houston Texans|