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DeShone Kizer’s coach thinks he should have stayed in college one more year

It’s a tough statement, but one that many likely agree with to a certain extent.

The San Francisco 49ers’ plans for the quarterback position offer a little bit of clarity for the short term, but no answers for the long term. The team signed Brian Hoyer to a two-year contract, and all indications are that he will start for the team this fall. Beyond that, it is hard to tell what the plan is.

One quarterback on the 49ers radar is Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer. The 49ers interviewed him at the 2017 NFL Combine, and head coach general manager John Lynch came away impressed. They followed that up with a dinner the night before Notre Dame’s Pro Day, and then observing his workout at the Pro Day.

It remains to be seen how much they actually like him, and how much is a smoke screen. Either way, there are enough questions surrounding Kizer that many think he will need to sit and develop a bit. Count his college head coach among those. Brian Kelly thinks Kizer has a strong arm and is physically gifted, but he told SiriusXM NFL Radio that the QB needs time to develop. Kelly thinks Kizer should be in college for at least one more year.

Kizer redshirted his first year, and then started his next two years. After a very solid redshirt freshman season, he took a step back in his redshirt sophomore season. He lost some key parts around him, and was benched at one point this past season.

Kyle Shanahan said last week that he expects Brian Hoyer to be the 49ers starter this fall, but the team will look to improve in the draft. None of the quarterbacks is viewed as sufficiently close to a sure thing. We might see one or two of them in the starting lineup this season, but odds are pretty good most of them spend much of this year on the bench.

I don’t have the full context of Kelly’s comments, and “DeShone Kizer should still be in college” does not come off as the best line. But even if you remove any potentially overly negative tone, it’s no surprise that Kizer’s coach thinks he needs more development time. It’s a common refrain with Kizer. If the 49ers do end up drafting him, I would be surprised to see him get more than mop-up duty in his first year with the team.