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Notre Dame Football: DeShone Kizer Sees Advantages In Losing

The former Notre Dame quarterback tries to sell the upside of a disappointing 4-8 season.

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NCAA Football: Georgia Tech at Notre Dame RVR Photos-USA TODAY Sports

DeShone Kizer doesn’t think his biggest asset heading into the 2017 NFL Draft is his 6-foot-4, 235 pound build, his powerful arm or his ability to keep the play alive with his feet.

The former Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback says his advantage over the other draft hopefuls at his position is he knows what it’s like to lose.

“The biggest question right now is the 4-8 factor. If you’re supposed to be this elite guy and you’re going to declare early, how do you go 4-8 last season? I would say that’s probably my biggest advantage, in terms of comparing me to other quarterbacks in this draft — is that I do have the experience of losing,” said Kizer on NFL Network’s Good Morning Football. “If you’re going to take a guy in the first round and you’re going to call him a franchise guy, you have to be able to go into a situation that isn’t necessarily the best for you.

“So to be able to experience 4-8 and also experience a 10-win season and a Fiesta Bowl trip, I’m able to compare the two seasons and determine the different things that go into winning — the leadership things, the culture things. How do I approach my teammates? Comparing those two seasons where you have Will Fuller and Ronnie Stanley on one team and you have K.J. Stepherson, a true freshman playing receiver, on another. Being able to determine what it takes to be a winning quarterback, I think, is my biggest asset going into whatever situation I’m going into.”

Kizer’s comments are part of a larger 5 minute, 20 second interview which he handled with great aplomb. (See video below) Yet, I’m going to focus on this single argument because it’s not sending the message I believe Kizer thinks it’s sending.

Because Kizer went 8-3 and then 4-8 as a starter, he’s tacitly acknowledging that his leadership style contributed to the team’s losing. NFL personnel are weighing whether to guarantee this 21-year-old millions of dollars. They cannot be reassured by an athlete who admits he learned what it takes to win — and then didn’t execute that.

Furthermore, Kizer is implying he cannot win without the right personnel — which is exactly what bad teams lack. The executive of a perpetually losing franchise wants to hear how you can help his team win with the personnel he already has (or can reasonably acquire). He doesn’t care for blaming other players’ inexperience as a reason you cannot lead his team to wins.

I don’t blame Kizer for trying to spin Notre Dame’s disastrous season into something positive for himself. To paraphrase Malik Zaire, Kizer is holding “chicken crap” and he’s trying to transform it into “chicken salad.”

I agreed with his decision to enter the NFL Draft. It was not in his best interests to attend the university for another year and try to improve on his 12-11 record. There’s potentially a much stronger quarterback draft class next year and coach Brian Kelly has already demonstrated a willingness to bench him when he struggles. Kizer simply could not take the chance that Kelly, needing to win now, would bench him in favor of Brandon Wimbush and torpedo Kizer’s draft stock.

My hope for Kizer this weekend has changed. I initially wanted him to get paid first round money and avoid the Cleveland Browns.

Now I want him to find the right fit.

The Arizona Cardinals would be foolish to draft Kizer at No. 13 — the Irish quarterback’s value is no longer that high. They have a second pick at No. 45. Kizer could still be available, depending on how the first round goes, or the Cardinals could trade up. 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.

The Cardinals are 18 months removed from a NFC championship game appearance. Arizona would be a good fit.

I cannot imagine Kizer will fall farther than No. 59. Barring trades, that will give the Buffalo Bills, New York Jets, Chicago Bears, Houston Texans, Arizona Cardinals and Los Angeles Chargers two cracks at choosing a future signal caller. The Cleveland Browns will have four chances by the mid-second round.

I found 28 mock drafts published within the last 24 hours. Eighteen say Kizer won’t go in the first round. As always, the complete list of 252 mock drafts (!) is here.

DeShone Kizer’s Position in Mock Drafts Released Monday

Draft analyst Publication Date of Mock Kizer at... Team
Draft analyst Publication Date of Mock Kizer at... Team
Chris Roling Bleacher Report 4/24/2017 13 Arizona Cardinals
Chris Emma CBS Chicago 4/24/2017 24 Chicago Bears
Connor Reilly SEC Country 4/24/2017 25 Houston Texans
Jason McIntyre The Big Lead 4/24/2017 25 Houston Texans
Kevin Fishbain Pro Football Weekly 4/24/2017 27 Kansas City Chiefs
Charlie Campbell WalterFootball 4/24/2017 30 Pittsburgh Steelers
Walter Cherepinsky WalterFootball 4/24/2017 30 Pittsburgh Steelers
Nicholas Martin Behind the Steel Curtain 4/24/2017 32 San Francisco 49ers
Mike Kaye First Coast News 4/24/2017 33 Cleveland Browns
Mike Tanier Bleacher Report 4/24/2017 34 San Francisco 49ers
Brennan Smith The Salt Lake Tribune 4/24/2017 Not in the first round n/a
Dan Kadar SB Nation 4/24/2017 Not in the first round n/a
Dave Zangaro CSN Philly 4/24/2017 Not in the first round n/a
Geoff Lowe 4/24/2017 Not in the first round n/a
Greg Bell The News Tribune 4/24/2017 Not in the first round n/a
James Kratch NJ Advance Media 4/24/2017 Not in the first round n/a
Jim Thomas St. Louis Post-Dispatch 4/24/2017 Not in the first round n/a
John Oehser 4/24/2017 Not in the first round n/a
Joseph Zucker Bleacher Report 4/24/2017 Not in the first round n/a
Josh Friedman South Jersey Courier-Post 4/24/2017 Not in the first round n/a
Josh Norris Rotoworld 4/24/2017 Not in the first round n/a
Kyle Crabbs FanRag Sports 4/24/2017 Not in the first round n/a
Matt Verderame NFL Draft 4/24/2017 Not in the first round n/a
Mike Clay ESPN 4/24/2017 Not in the first round n/a
Nate Davis USA Today 4/24/2017 Not in the first round n/a
Nick Klopsis Newsday 4/24/2017 Not in the first round n/a
Rob Rang CBS Sports 4/24/2017 Not in the first round n/a
Tony Grossi ESPN Cleveland 4/24/2017 Not in the first round n/a

Here’s where the mock draft analysts think the quarterbacks will be selected.

2017 NFL Draft position for QBs, as predicted by mock draft analysts