Today is the day – hopefully – for Deshone Kizer. Notre Dame’s starter the last two seasons left school early to hear his name called tonight on the first night of the 2017 NFL Draft. While it is no longer a lock that Kizer is a 1st round selection, chances are still good he becomes the first Notre Dame QB since Brady Quinn to go in the 1st round.
As of Thursday morning, ESPN’s Todd McShay (who apparently survived yesterday’s massive layoffs at the world wide leader) has the Cleveland Browns selecting North Carolina’s Mitch Trubisky #1 overall. That would be VERY good for Kizer as it could start a run on quarterbacks that pushes Kizer higher up on draft boards.
As we wait for tonight’s draft, here is a look at how Kizer could – or could not – fit into each NFL team’s plans.
Teams Needing to Replace Franchise QBs Soon
I’ve said for a while that a team with an aging quarterback who needs a replacement in the next couple of seasons is the best landing spot for Kizer. Going the “Aaron Rodgers route” would give Kizer the time he needs to develop more before taking over a franchise. These teams below are all team to watch when they are on the clock tonight and tomorrow.
- New York Giants – The Giants won’t use a first rounder on Kizer because they are in win now mode but they need an eventual replacement to Eli Manning. If Kizer falls to round 2, perhaps the Giants are an option.
- Pittsburgh Steelers – The Steelers are a perfect fit for Kizer as I’ve written before. If Kizer is there at the end of the 1st round, he makes A LOT of sense for them. If there is a NFL team disciplined enough to use a 1st rounder on a potential franchise QB when they are close to a Super Bowl, it’s the Steelers.
- Arizona Cardinals – The Cardinals are another perfect fit for Kizer. Carson Palmer only has a season or two max left in him and this is a team built to win for a while with a solified QB. They are a major stretch for Kizer in round 1, but if the Browns reach for Trubisky, this becomes an option.
- New Orleans Saints – Drew Brees is still throwing for 5,000 yards a season, but for how much longer? They have an extra 1st rounder from the Patriots at the back end of the 1st round. If they score a big time player wth their first pick they could lock up Kizer at the end of round 1.
- Kansas City Chiefs – Alex Smith is far from a franchise QB but he has been kicking around the NFL for a while now. Kansas City at #27 is a good landing spot for Kizer. Andy Reid has worked wonders with quarterbacks throughout his career. The Chiefs have a lot of offensive weapons in place already as well.
- San Diego Chargers – Phillip Rivers likely only has a few seasons left in him but at #7, Kizer would be a HUGE reach for the Chargers. They are more of a possibility if Kizer falls out of 1st round.
Teams Who Needs QBs Now
Quarterback is the most important position in football and all of these teams needs QBs NOW. Kizer isn’t the best fit for a team that needs a QB today though because he needs time to develop. Still, these teams could decide Kizer is their QB of the future.
- Chicago Bears – The Bears signed Mike Glennon this offense, but he is a stop gap. Chicago makes very logical sense from a regional standpoint. At #3, the Bears aren’t a possibility in the 1st round, but if Kizer is there early in the 2nd round they are.
- Houston Texans – The Texans biggest need is at quarterback, but they need a QB that can start NOW and Kizer needs some seasoning before he is ready to play. Houston might be gun shy after the Brock Osweiler experiment as well.
- San Francisco 49ers – The 49ers have had some good luck with Notre Dame quarterbacks in the past, but they aren’t going to use the #2 pick on a QB. If the Browns let Myles Garrett slide to #2, the 49ers will happily pounce. If they get Garrett, they become a big player for Kizer in round 2.
- New York Jets
Teams With Uncertain Quarterback Situations
These teams are in flux at the quarterback position and most likely aren’t using a high pick on a quarterback.
- Minnesota Vikings – No NFL team has a more cloudy QB position. Teddy Bridgewater looked like their long term QB but last summer’s nasty injury has his long-term future in doubt. Sam Bradford filled in last year after the Eagles robbed the Vikes of a 1st round pick, but he is undoubtedly not a long term answer.
- Miami Dolphins – Ryan Tannehill is signed through 2020 but the Phins can cut after this season if they decide he isn’t the long term answer.
- Jacksonville Jaguars – Will this be the last year of the Blake Bortles experiment in Jacksonville? The Jags would be wise to draft a QB high to challenge Bortles who as disapppointed.
- Washington Redskins – Will they ever go all in with Kirk Cousins? Would they draft a QB high as insurance?
- Denver Broncos – The Broncos used a 1st rounder on a QB last year so the odds of them taking Kizer are next to nothing, but sorry Bronco fans, Paxton Lynch is far from a sure thing as a franchise QB.
- Buffalo Bills – The Bills haven’t been talked about much as a landing spot for Kizer but they have been a bit lukewarm on going all in with Tyrod Taylor as their franchise QB. Another team to watch in round 2.
Teams With Established Starters
- Seattle Seahawks – Russell Wilson is young, established, and his a Super Bowl ring. No reason for the Hawks to draft a QB high.
- Detroit Lions – The Lions could use a backup, but Matthew Stafford is still reasonably young and playing at a high level.
- Green Bay Packers – Aaron Rodgers is still one of the best in the NFL and the Packers aren’t taking a QB high this year.
- Atlanta Falcons – Super Bowl collapse aside, Matt Ryan’s resurgent 2016 season has the QB position in Hot Lanta looking set for a while.
- Carolina Panthers – Kizer compared himself to Cam Newton in one of the multiple interviews in which he inserted his foot in his mouth, but he isn’t going to Carolina.
- New England Patriots – Tom Brady found the fountain of youth at some point and unless the Pats trade Jimmy Garroppollo, they have no need for a young QB to groom as Brady’s eventual replacement when he retires at age 50.
- Baltimore Ravens – Ravens fans are growing a bit impatient with Joe Flacco these days, but tough to see the Ravens going for a quarterback early right now.
- Cincinnati Bengals – Andy Dalton continues to pile up stats, but still doesn’t have a playoff win. In what is also certainly the last year of the Marvin Lewis Era (barring a playoff run), they won’t be drafting a young QB to build around this year. Next year? Probably.
Teams Set With Young Franchise QBs
Nothing to see here. These teams have a lot invested in young quarterbacks.
- Philadelphia Eagles – Carson Wentz is a future NFL MVP and will finally bring a Super Bowl to Philadelphia. A guy can dream can’t he?
- Los Angeles Rams – Jared Golf will make Rams fans cry when Wentz wins that MVP and he is still looking lost, but the Rams aren’t going QB again for a while after the ranssom they paid for Goff last year.
- Tennessee Titans – Marcus Mariota is looking more and more like an elite NFL QB and the Titans need to get him weapons.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Jameis Winston is looking like an elite NFL QB as well.
- Dallas Cowboys – As much as it pains me, the Boys found some lightning in a bottle with their pick of Dak Prescott last year.
- Indianapolis Colts – Andrew Luck has had injury problems, but the Colts are still building around him.
- Oakland Raiders – Derek Carr is one of my favorite NFL quarterbacks that people rarely talk about. He will be one of the best QBs in the league sooner rather than later.