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The Journal Gazette

Friday, March 03, 2017 10:01 pm

Kizer impresses 49ers at combine

Kyle Rowland | For The Journal Gazette

INDIANAPOLIS – It didn’t take long for DeShone Kizer to make headlines at the NFL Scouting Combine.

The former Notre Dame quarterback met with San Francisco 49ers’ brass Wednesday and "blew the doors off" of a meeting, according to general manager John Lynch. The 49ers are in a unique position – they own the second overall selection in the draft and they also have zero quarterbacks on the roster.

Kyle Shanahan, the architect of the Atlanta Falcons’ high-octane offense, is San Francisco’s newly hired head coach. So you do the math. It’s hard to imagine the 49ers not taking a quarterback with the No. 2 pick.

"This whole thing is not about an interview, but if we’re grading (Kizer) on that alone, he blew the doors off of it," Lynch said. "He’s an impressive young man. His film is impressive, too."

Kizer comes to the combine as the quarterback owning the most upside. He, North Carolina’s Mitch Trubisky, Clemson’s Deshaun Watson and Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes have separated themselves as the top four quarterbacks in the draft.

The opinions on Kizer are polarizing. He’s tumbled down some draft boards – even out of the first round altogether – while others, such as Mike Mayock, one of the foremost authorities on talent evaluation, called Kizer the best of the bunch.

"I think he’s the proto­type quarterback in the NFL," Mayock said. "He’s a 6-foot-5, 235-, 240-pound quarterback. He’s got a big arm, he’s got a quick release, he’s athletic, he’s smart. He’s got enough athletic ability to move around the pocket. So I love his physical traits. I think he’ll work hard, and I know he’s smart. What I don’t like is how his game fell apart in the fourth quarter of a lot of games."

Kizer indicated he’s turned off social media and declined marketing deals because he wants to focus on his draft preparations.

Kizer completed 58.7 percent of his passes in 2016 – down from 63 percent the previous year – for 2,925 yards, 26 touchdowns and nine interceptions. But it was his second-half discrepancies that have led to questions.

In the first half, he completed 65 percent of his passes. That number dipped to 52 percent in the second half and 49 percent in the fourth quarter.