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Notre Dame Football: The Four NFL Teams Deciding DeShone Kizer’s Draft Fate

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Consensus among mock draft experts is that the Cleveland Browns, Arizona Cardinals, Houston Texans and K.C. Chiefs are the four main players for Kizer’s services.

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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 RaidersPatrick Mahomes. (But then again, maybe the Cardinals surprise and take Mahomes at No. 13.)

The Texans have also been linked to Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo — although Houston coach Bill O’Brien is mum about that — and former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

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 DraftBlaster.com 3/28/2017 105 Pittsburgh Steelers
Staff Fantasy Football Prophet 2/28/2017 Not in the first round n/a
Staff NFLMock 3/17/2017 12 Cleveland Browns
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
As of the morning of March 30 @andrewwinn