For all the criticism that Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly took last week for saying his former quarterback, DeShone Kizer, should have stayed in school rather than entering the 2017 NFL Draft, it's not as though he was wrong. After just two years as a college starter, the second of which ended in a 4-8 season, Kizer made the NFL jump as a redshirt sophomore and the "developmental" label appropriately followed.
Now, Kizer himself is acknowledging it.
"It's honestly the truth," Kizer told the Kap and Co. radio show in Chicago, per transcription from NBC Sports. "I have two more years available (of college eligibility). I'm only 21 years of age. There is a lot of growth for me. There's a lot of growth for everyone in this draft. There's a lot of guys out there who had to make big adjustments as they move into the NFL, and I know it. That's why I'm not the No. 1 quarterback guaranteed walking into this draft as we speak."
Kizer isn't alone. NFL and executives have widely identified the top quarterbacks in this year's draft as needing, to varying degrees, time to develop. That sentiment was put most succinctly by Kansas City Chiefs general manager John Dorsey last month. As a result, it's anyone's guess which quarterback will be the first selected, and even more of a guess which will be the first to succeed.
Kizer, for his part, isn't denying his shortcomings -- and that acknowledgement will serve him when he begins learning some of the hardest lessons the NFL teaches rookie quarterbacks.