football

Notre Dame Football: Q&A With Tony Pauline Of DraftAnalyst.com

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DeShone Kizer
Associated Press

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Blue & Gold Illustrated recently caught up with Tony Pauline of DraftAnalyst.com.

You can follow Pauline on Twitter: @TonyPauline.

Last week, we took a look at former Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer's place among the top quarterbacks in the 2017 Draft. Various mock drafts and rankings have either Kizer, North Carolina's Mitch Trubisky or Clemson's DeShaun Watson as the top quarterback in the draft.

• Kizer's 2016 stats: 58.7 percent passing, 2,925 yards, 26 touchdowns, nine interceptions.

• Kizer's 2015 stats: 63.0 percent passing, 2,884 yards, 21 touchdowns, 10 interceptions.

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BGI: When you look at Kizer — who many considered a lock as a first-round draft pick entering last season — what kind of a player do you see?

Pauline: “I look at him basically the way I look at the entire Notre Dame program last year. Never met expectations, very disappointing. Expected a lot more off the 2015 film. He’s a guy who’s very talented. I would say he’s got the best physical tools of any quarterback in this draft as far as size, arm strength, ability to make plays with his legs or with his arm. The problem is the tape is more inconsistent than any of the top quarterbacks in this draft.”

BGI: As you said, Kizer obviously has the ability to make all the throws in the NFL. What did you see on film that was concerning to you?

Pauline: “Some of his reads were terrible, his accuracy was all over the place. For every one pass that he was right on the money, there were two or three passes that you kind of scratched your head. At one point in time he was ranked as my No. 1 quarterback in this draft, but when I really watched the film…I’m very conservative on my quarterbacks to begin with, and when I watched the film I just said there’s too much bust factor in this guy and there’s too many questions.

“The fact that he left the way he did after a bad season. I thought all in all, he needs a lot of coaching, he needs the right kind of coaching, he may need some hand-holding. The ability is there, but there’s also a lot of downside risk.”

BGI: Draft analysts and NFL personnel people were very high on Kizer after his 2015 season. How much did his relatively poor 2016 season hurt his draft stock?

Pauline: “If the situation was reversed and he played in 2016 the way he played in 2015 and played in 2015 the way he did last year, he’s probably a lock as the No. 1 quarterback. He didn’t really show any progression in his game, which is disturbing, especially at the quarterback position.

“If they can’t do it, you can’t put them on the field. It’s not like the guy could be a special teamer or he can be a dime back or designated pass rusher, if it’s not clicking at the quarterback position, there’s no use for him.”

BGI: While at the Reese’s Senior Bowl last month, you wrote in one of your reports that there are some “character issues” that have raised some red flags with Kizer. Can you expand on those character issues?

Pauline: “There’s some question he left more because it’s a passion to play football or it’s a situation where it’s a money grab.”

BGI: Ultimately where do you see Kizer being selected in the draft?

Pauline: “If Trubisky is off the board in the first 10 picks, he could go to Cleveland with that second pick they’ve got early in Round 1. Or he could tumble into the 20’s.”

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Talk about it inside Rockne’s Roundtable

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