Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly might not think DeShone Kizer is ready for the NFL, but the former Irish quarterback does not lack in confidence.
While proclaiming himself to be the best quarterback in this year's NFL Draft class, Kizer also compared himself to MVP quarterbacks Cam Newton and Tom Brady.
Kizer left Notre Dame with two years of eligibility remaining and is a potential first-round prospect.
While some have Kizer rated higher, most draft experts rank the 21-year-old as the fourth-best quarterback behind Clemson's Deshaun Watson, North Carolina's Mitchell Trubisky and Texas Tech's Patrick Mahomes.
Even if Kizer doesn't get selected in the first round of next week's draft, which begins April 27, he believes he has the potential to be the best quarterback of all time.
"Name a college quarterback who goes into the game-plan meetings on Monday and throws his notes at the coaches," Kizer told USA Today during an expansive interview. "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 (draft) 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 (Tom) 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."
Kizer is much more highly regarded than Brady was coming out of college. Brady was a sixth-round pick from Michigan in the 2000 draft, but has gone on to win five Super Bowls, named the Super Bowl MVP four times, with 12 Pro Bowl selections and two league MVP awards.
Newton was the 2015 NFL MVP while leading the Panthers to the Super Bowl. Newton was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft and is bigger at 6-5, 245 pounds than the 6-4, 233-pound Kizer, who threw for 2,925 yards with 26 touchdowns and nine interceptions last season. Kizer started as a redshirt freshman, throwing for 2,884 yards with 21 touchdowns and 10 picks. He cited his ability to diagnose defenses as a reason why he's ready to become one of the greats in the NFL.
"The experiences that I’ve gone through these past couple years are also what separates me in this class," Kizer said. "I think I know what it takes to win, and I know what it takes to endure adversity. I’ve hit my low. It’s only up from here."