The San Francisco 49ers invested a sixth round pick in quarterback Jeff Driskel, and while it's not exactly a bold pronouncement for the future, there is intriguing upside to the young quarterback. Driskel joins a handful of former teammates like Trent Brown, Kelvin Taylor and Ian Silberman. He spoke with the media during rookie minicamp, and discussed his former and new teammates, the chip on his shoulder, and even his previous football relationship with Blaine Gabbert. You can watch the full video here.
Driskel was a graduate transfer and spent his last year of eligibility at Louisiana Tech after four years at Florida where some gave him the burden of being named the next Tim Tebow. He claims those high expectations did not change his process, nor will lesser expectations of being a 6th round pick.
My mind set is just to come in, keep my mouth shut and learn, because there's a lot to learn. I just want to come in and work hard and earn the respect of my teammates.
Driskel worked with Blaine Gabbert when he attended the Elite 11 QB camp where Gabbert was a counselor and Driskel was still in high school. They have yet to have much contact as only rookies were at the facility. Prior to the draft Driskel visited San Diego, Kansas City, Denver, and Houston but he thinks he landed in the place with the best fit.
It's an explosive offense for explosive players and I just look forward to getting into it, learning it and competing every day.
Has the adversity that Driskel faced made him better equipped to face the competition of the NFL?
I don't know if I'm any more equipped than anyone else. I think that going through some tough times helped me as a player and as a person. [I'm] kind of battle tested in that respect. I know how to handle when times aren't always going great and in the NFL that's going to happen and I've just proven that I can respond from that and can move forward.
Did not being drafted until the 6th round put a chip on his shoulder?
As a competitor you always want to be regarded highly and you want to be the first one taken and you think you should go before this guy or that guy but at the end of the day I'm happy that I landed here, I think it's a great fit, and just can't wait to get to work with these guys. I just think it's the perfect fit. I think it's an offense that allows me to use my God given abilities.
Driskel has a lot of experience in the zone read system and does seem like a natural fit. He has several similarities to Colin Kaepernick, but of course, the most important emphasized characteristic for a QB in Kelly's system is accuracy. The QB competition will remain between Gabbert and Kaepernick for now, but it seems there could be potential for Driskel in the future.