Lance Zierlein, a draft analyst for NFL.com, joined Chad, Joe & Lo on 95.7 The Game Thursday morning and briefly discussed San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jeff Driskel. He was asked if the rookie would have any chance in a couple of years to emerge for the team and be more than just a backup signal caller.
"I don't think so," Zierlein answered. "I think he's one of these guys that you're going to hear a lot about though because – let me tell you – when he can sit in the pocket and just wing it. Man, did he look pretty. He's a big guy with a great delivery, great mechanics, and he looks really really good when he's not bothered in the pocket and he gets to just sit in there and just fling it around."
However, everything he said about Driskel was not positive. "The problem I saw on tape with him on my draft board is that when the bullets fly and it gets a little noisy in the pocket, he turns into a different guy," Zierlein explained. "The head drops down, the eyes drop and he becomes a more rushed, impatient player. I don't think that changes. Honestly, I think it's in you – that level of confidence and poise. You either have it or you don't and you can get a little bit better with it, but the NFL is all about heating you up at the quarterback position."
Zierlein finished up the segment by saying, "So that's why I think, for as much as Jeff Driskel will look good in practice and will look the part in the uniform, personally I have my doubts that he'll be able to take that step to the next level as an NFL quarterback as long as he is unable, in my opinion, to really handle consistent pressure on the NFL level. Because as we know from watching the 49ers, they're going to allow some pass rush. That's for sure."
You can listen to the entire interview here. The portion about Driskel starts about 7:40 into the segment.
Driskel was drafted by the 49ers in the sixth round back in May. Zierlein, who compared Driskel to Drew Stanton, originally said the following in his NFL.com analysis:
"Driskel still has the size, arm strength and athleticism that made him the top-rated quarterback coming out of high school, but he hasn't experienced enough growth at the position due to his rocky path to the draft. A positive 2015 helped Driskell regain some confidence, but he's not where he needs to be yet. With his upside and traits, Driskel is worthy of a day three selection and could yield dividends with patience and coaching."
Zierlein's colleague, Mark Dulgerian, had the following to say about Driskel following his selection by the 49ers:
"Driskel looks the part and all the tools are there. He regained some confidence in 2015 after playing under 4 different offensive coordinators in his career. Chip has a chance to see if he can squeeze out all the talent scout's saw in flashes during his career."