To the people who matter, DeShone Kizer flap is much ado about nothing

Eric Hansen
South Bend Tribune

So the DeShone Kizer quote, that took on a life of its own Thursday to viral proportions across social media had a pretty substantial afterlife Friday.

It likely won’t have one at all with NFL general managers and decision-makers, according to NFL Draft analyst Mike Mayock of NFL Network.

The former Notre Dame quarterback — before the quote — was expected to go late first round to the middle of the second during next week’s draft, staged Thursday through Saturday in Philadelphia. And Kizer still is, post-quote.

“You know, when 21-year-old kids say things like that, and like Myles Garrett, whatever he said a little while ago, I just start to laugh,” Mayock said Friday on a media conference call. “To me that’s just immaturity.

“On a scale of that versus putting your hands on a woman or testing positive at the combine, I think it’s minute. And I think most people just kind of laugh and say, ‘Well, the kid will grow up once he gets to camp and realizes that he’s not the reincarnate of Cam Newton and Tom Brady.’ So I don’t think that’s a big deal.”

The actual quote that appeared Thursday in a USA Today story went as follows: “Imagine taking (Tom) Brady’s intellect and Brady’s preparation and putting it on a guy with Cam Newton’s body.”

The headline on several websites, including profootballtalk.com, took away the word “imagine” and simply read: “DeShone Kizer: I have Tom Brady’s brain in Cam Newton’s body.”

Kizer apparently took issue with PFT headline, tweeting, “Sheesh Way out of context... but alright.”

The context around the quote was hardly a puff of humility, however. Kizer’s confidence and perhaps defensiveness amid reports his draft stock was sagging overtook his normal media savvy.

“Name a college quarterback who goes into the game-plan meetings on Monday and throws his notes at the coaches,” he told USA Today in comparing himself to the other QBs in the draft. “No one else game plans the way I do. No one else prepares the way I do. No one else knows football the way I do.

“No one else is as big as I am. No one else is as powerful a runner as I am. Pat Mahomes might throw the ball 80 yards and I can only throw the ball 72, but I guarantee he can’t throw an out route the way I can. No one else can do what I can do.

“And I’ve truly figured out in this process, if I can maximize all my potential in every aspect of the game – this is bold – I do have the ability to be the greatest quarterback to ever play. Imagine taking Brady’s intellect and Brady’s preparation and putting it on a guy with Cam Newton’s body. Why can’t I be the greatest? The only thing stopping me from it is me. That’s what’s driving me now.”

Mayock has been one of Kizer’s strongest proponents throughout the pre-draft process, and still is, even though he understands why teams might not take him in the first round — and why he might not himself if he were in their position.

“You’re asking me a direct question: Would I take him in the first round?” Mayock said of the first Notre Dame football player ever to give up two years of eligibility to dive into the draft pool. “And I’m in the back seat.

“I don’t know what team I have or what my needs are. What I’m telling you, and I’ve been consistent about with people, is that I do believe he’s got all the physical traits to be a first-round quarterback and to be a starting quarterback. However, I don’t think he’s ready to play.

“And because he’s not ready to play, I would be very hesitant to take him in the first round.

“Would I like to develop him behind the starting quarterback for a year or two? I would love that. I would love to get him within a room with a mature quarterback, somebody who has been around and grind his tail off and shows this kid, who is a smart kid, ‘Hey, this is what it takes to play at the level.’ People don’t understand. Not just quarterbacks.

“A lot of kids — 21-, 22-year-old impressionable kids — get drafted by certain teams, and they go into their rooms, and I mean the position. That’s where they spend their most time. The guys in the position group room.

“If you get in a good room, most of the kids will go toward the good. If you get in a bad room, a lot of kids will go toward the bad.”

Former Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer's viral Tom Brady/Cam Newton quote won't register with NFL decision-makers, says NFL Draft analyst Mike Mayock. (Tribune Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN)