Chip Kelly impressed by Jeff Driskel
Former Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel is making a strong impression in San Francisco, making the most of his opportunities with the 49ers after being selected in the sixth round of the NFL Draft.
Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area recently wrote about 49ers coach Chip Kelly taking notice of Driskel’s strong showing in third-team reps during offseason workouts.
“I think he’s done a really nice job,” Kelly said of Driskel. “He’s really intelligent. (He) picked things up conceptually very quickly. (He) was exposed to a couple of systems because he was at Florida and then Louisiana Tech.
A couple of systems is an understatement. Driskel, who signed with the Gators in 2011 as the top dual-threat prospect, played for three UF offensive coordinators: Charlie Weis (2011), Brent Pease (2012-13) and Kurt Roper (2014). As a graduate transfer, he finished his career at Louisiana Tech in 2015.
Those close to the Florida football team from 2011-14 say that Driskel always impressed in practice. In the case of the 2014 season, after a rough outing against Alabama (9-of-28, 93 yards, TD, 2 INT), Driskel appeared to have it all worked out the following Monday – a familiar pattern that delayed Will Muschamp’s decision to bench the fourth-year quarterback. During a meltdown performance against Missouri (7-of-19, 50 yards, 2 INT), however, Driskel was permanently pulled in favor of Treon Harris.
If Driskel’s in-game problems show up again in San Francisco, the 49ers might have another use for him. Special teams coordinator Derius Swinton II sees a potential use for the natural athlete on the field with special teams.
“He’s a guy that’s athletic,” Swinton said. “He’s a guy that when he was at Florida, you saw him run all over. It comes down to a 53-man roster and if you do carry a guy like that, you just look at numbers.
“For me, I’m playing the numbers game. I try to squeeze every little bit out of it. You have a guy like Thad Lewis, when I had him as a rookie, Thad will tell you he covered every kick for us on the practice squad. So if you have a quarterback that can do that, it pays dividends for us.”
Kelly is on board with the idea.
“He’s just a football player,” Kelly said. “He just wants to play football and whatever he can do to make a team, he’s going to try to do it.”