DeShone Kizer, the NFL Combine, and why accountability is a sign of leadership

By Stephen Spiewak | Posted 3/6/2017

Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer is at or near the top of most NFL scouts’ Draft boards despite one ugly statistic that mars his resume: 4-8.

That was Notre Dame’s record in 2016 with Kizer lining up behind center.

However, rather than deflect responsibility or make excuses for the less-than-sterling record, Kizer demonstrated a trait at the NFL Combine that NFL scouts appreciated: accountability.

"After doing a bunch of film study and reflecting on the season, simply put, the ball is in my hands every play, and I just have to make more plays," Kizer said, via

Kizer suggested afterward that the questions were warranted—and that he answered them as honestly as possible.

"A guy my size, my arm talent, my understanding of football, why do you go 4-8?" Kizer told CSN Chicago. "I've answered that question as truthfully as I possibly can, and that's I didn't make plays."

Kizer’s accountability was met with a very positive response from NFL scouts.

New San Francisco 49ers GM John Lynch said that Kizer “blew the doors off” his interview with the team.

It’s a lesson that applies to both players and coaches. Owning mistakes and shortcomings is a sign of maturity and leadership. Finger-pointing and excuse-making is indicative of immaturity or lack of self-confidence.

NFL organizations, just like college coaches and high school administrators, favor the former over the latter.