Blue and Gold Illustrated

June-July 2017

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 40 of 63 JUNE/JULY 2017 41 the experiences of going through the 2015 season and comparing them," Kizer said, "from having some suc- cess to not as much success, I will be able to hopefully bring that over and continue to learn as much as I possi- bly can, and then try to do whatever I can to contribute to winning some games." Kizer, the first Notre Dame quar- terback to be selected in the NFL Draft since Jimmy Clausen in 2010, said he had a good relationship with the Browns, including executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown, head coach Hue Jackson and quarterbacks coach David Lee. He said he had two informal inter- views with the AFC North franchise, and then the Browns saw him at his pro day March 23 in South Bend. The Browns drafted Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett first overall. They also took Michigan safety Jabrill Peppers and Miami tight end David Njoku in the open- ing round. "Obviously, I owe it to them for pulling the trigger on me," Kizer said. Kizer will compete with Cody Kessler, Brock Osweiler and Kevin Hogan for Cleveland's starting quar- terback job — for now. According to multiple reports, the Browns have expressed interest in Patriots backup signal-caller Jimmy Garoppolo and Bengals backup quarterback A.J. Mc- Carron this offseason, though those rumors have tapered off. Brown said on a conference call after the draft that the Browns are still looking to solidify the quarter- back position, but Kizer's value was too much to pass up in the second round. Cleveland has started 26 play- ers under center since the 1999 sea- son (including Notre Dame's Brady Quinn), a run of unmatched futility in a quarterback-driven league. A main criticism of Kizer is he's not ready to contribute as a rookie. Brown doesn't see that as a down- side. "The reality is it's probably a lit- tle bit overblown when people say 'pro-ready,'" Brown said. "There are just not a lot of guys, if any, that are coming out of college that are pro- ready. We expect when we draft a quarterback we are going to have to develop him. We talked about that a long time; that is Hue's expertise. "I do think for us understanding that these guys are going to come and not place too lofty of expecta- tions on him and make sure that he comes in and understands that Brock, Cody and Kevin have been in the league longer than he has, but he will be hustling to catch up. It is go- ing to be a development process for him, just as it will for anybody who has been drafted today or yesterday." One of the main knocks on Kizer was his lack of accuracy at Notre Dame. He completed just 58.7 per- cent of his passes as a junior in 2016. His NFL future largely depends on his ability to be accurate. "Accuracy and consistency are two good questions that have been asked quite a bit in the past couple of months going into the draft," Kizer said. "I have already made some ad- justments, and I am very confident. Through workouts with Coach Jack- son and Coach Lee, I was already able to make some minor switch-ups with them. It has helped me out quite a bit already "With that, I am very confident that once I get into their system and I am able to be in their facility with them that those improvements will continue and I will be able to become a much more accurate thrower." ISAAC ROCHELL TAKEN IN SEVENTH ROUND Former Notre Dame defensive lineman Isaac Rochell had his NFL dream become a reality April 30. The 6-4, 280-pound Rochell waited until the third and final day of the draft, ultimately selected with the 225th pick in the seventh round by the Los Angeles Chargers. "Some guys look down on the idea that they went late, some guys would rather go undrafted," Rochell told "But for me, this is a blessing and an opportunity and a privilege to be able to get drafted and picked by a team like that." Rochell enters a Chargers defen- sive line group that is loaded with stars but light on depth. Last year's first-round pick, Joey Bosa, leads the way and is complemented by Melvin Ingram. In his final two seasons at Notre Dame, Rochell tallied 118 total tack- les, 14.5 stops for loss and 17 quarter- back hurries. He'll be asked to wear a lot of different hats in the NFL. "Versatility is definitely the big- gest thing," Rochell said. "I talked to the D-line coach [Giff Smith] a little bit, and I think they're really going to try to use me in a lot of different ways. For my size, I create a lot of mismatches." ✦ Rochell, who was selected 225th overall, compiled 118 total stops, 14.5 tackles for loss and 17 quarter- back hurries during his last two years at Notre Dame. PHOTO BY BILL PANZICA Undrafted Recap The following Notre Dame players went un- drafted, but either signed with an NFL team or received a rookie minicamp invitation: • DL Jarron Jones (New York Giants) • CB Cole Luke (Carolina Panthers) • LB James Onwualu (Los Angeles Chargers) • RB Tarean Folston (invited to the Washing- ton Redskins rookie minicamp) • LS Scott Daly (invited to the Chicago Bears rookie minicamp)

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