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Cardinals think Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer could start as a rookie

Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer (14) throws against Wake Forest during the first half of an NCAA college football game in South Bend, Ind., Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

It’s sounding likely the Arizona Cardinals will choose a quarterback at some point in next month’s NFL Draft.

However, whether they spend their first-round pick — No. 13 overall — on one or decide to address the position in the later rounds is anyone’s guess, as is who they might be targeting.

On Wednesday, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians gave some insight into his thinking regarding the quarterback position heading into the draft. He discussed what he would like to find in a passer in terms of characteristics and ability, and believes there are players who could embody what he is looking for in this year’s draft.

Yet, while there are a handful of quarterbacks Arians seems to be high on, he said in terms of players who could step in as rookies and lead a team, there is a limited number.

“So far, I would say one of the guys — I’m not going to mention names — I think one of them is probably ready to start as a rookie,” Arians said. “All the rest, there are some really talented arms that need a year of learning how to play the position, especially at this level. If you’re plug-and-play then this draft is very small, but if you have time to bring them along then this draft is large because the talent level is there.”

Arians’ reasoning for not providing a name is obvious — if he and the Cardinals really like a certain player, why let other teams know — yet, Arizona Sports 98.7 FM’s John Gambadoro is reporting that the player the coach was referring to is Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer.

Seen as one of the draft’s better prospects and a good fit for Arizona’s offense, the 6-foot-4, 233-pound Kizer would seem to be more in play for the Cardinals at 13 than in the second round.

As a junior last season, he passed for 2,925 yards and 26 touchdowns, while running for 472 yards and eight scores. He was also benched during the season after struggling some, and while that no doubt raises concerns, it is tough to ignore his raw ability.

Kizer has one of the stronger arms in the draft, yet offers the kind of mobility many teams seek nowadays. It would not be a total shock if the Cardinals took him, given that the majority of mock drafts up to this point have the Notre Dame product being their pick at 13, though as Arians and Cardinals GM Steve Keim have said, there is an inherent risk involved when choosing a quarterback near the top of the draft.

Still, the Cardinals would like to find one, and Kizer could very well be their primary target.

“Every year you would like to draft a quarterback,” Arians said. “We’ve had two with the name on the card ready to roll, and they’ve gone like a pick or three picks ahead of us the last two years.

“You’ve got them set on your board where you’d like to take that quarterback and if he falls to you, take him, but don’t reach. If you’ve got one in the fourth round, don’t take him in the third round, cause now you’re screwing up your board, and you’re probably putting him in a position he doesn’t belong.”

Phillips Law Group


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