The Journal Gazette
 
 
Saturday, May 01, 2021 2:13 pm

Book drafted in fourth round by Saints

Dylan Sinn | The Journal Gazette

Former Notre Dame quarterback Ian Book has a new home and he'll get a chance to earn a starting spot in the NFL. The all-time wins leader at quarterback in Irish history went to the New Orleans Saints in the fourth round with the 133rd overall pick.

Book is the ninth quarterback picked in this draft after a record eight went in the first three rounds. He steps into a situation in New Orleans that is in flux for the first time in 15 years after the retirement of Drew Brees. The Saints have former No. 1 overall pick Jameis Winston and all-purpose player Taysom Hill, who got his first career starts at quarterback late in the season last year. Former Northwestern quarterback Trevor Siemian is also on the roster. None of those three are anywhere close to entrenched as the starter and while Book is a longshot to win the job, it's eminently possible he ends up making the roster as a backup. The question will be whether he has the arm strength to run an NFL offense, but his athleticism is not in question.

The 6-foot, 210-pound Book led Notre Dame to the College Football Playoff twice in his nearly three years as the starter and threw 49 touchdowns against only nine interceptions in his final two seasons, while adding more than 1,000 rushing yards and 13 more touchdowns on the ground in those campaigns. He finished his career with a 30-5 record as the starting quarterback and became the first Irish QB drafted since DeShone Kizer in 2017 and only the second since Jimmy Clausen in 2010.

Book's selection gives Notre Dame six picks in the draft, already matching its 2019 and 2020 totals, with several more likely on the way.

NFL.com says: "Notre Dame's winningest quarterback brings plenty of leadership and overall intangibles with him. He has big game experience in his background, too. However, his size and arm strength fall below NFL standards and there isn't anything in his game that he can really hang his hat on that counters those issues.

"He makes receivers work too hard for the catch and was dreadful throwing outside the numbers in 2020. He's effective in RPO calls. He also does a nice job of feeling pocket pressure and sliding around it or getting outside the pocket to make plays. He's a capable runner and a plus athlete but doesn't have the necessary play traits to make a splash in the NFL."

dsinn@jg.net


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