Can Clausen Be The Best Choice For The Skins?

Jack GoodwillieContributor IFebruary 26, 2010

SOUTH BEND, IN - NOVEMBER 21: Quarterback Jimmy Clausen #7 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish looks to pass the ball during the game against the Univeristy of Connecticut Huskies at Notre Dame Stadium on November 21, 2009 in South Bend, Indiana. Connecticut defeated Notre Dame 33-30 in overtime. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

After a pathetic four-and-twelve season, the Washington Redskins will enter this year's NFL Draft with the number four selection. Having the fourth pick, the possibilities are unlimited as to what they can do with that pick.

Experts have called this year's draft class "The Draft of the Linemen." Ironically, that is exactly what the Redskins need; an young offensive tackle to help anchor their weak line.

But why spend the number four pick on an offensive lineman? The 'Skins need to give their fans something to get excited about, as well as get what they truly need as an organization.

More than likely, top-rated cornerback Joe Haden will be available, as the top three selections are projected to be defensive tackles Ndamukong Suh and Gerald McCoy, as well as safety Eric Berry. Haden could be put to good use with Carlos Rogers failing to step up as a shut-down corner.

And of course, should any of the top three defensive standouts fall to number four, the Redskins should definitely make a run at one of them. But as a fan, my main concern and biggest glaring weakness was a lack of leadership offensively.

Obviously, with Mike Shannahan taking the reigns as head coach, the Redskins have already made a big upgrade on what they had: The sickly, neurotic failure that was Jim Zorn. But the quarterback position lacked that leadership too in Jason Campbell. Campbell had many opportunities to show why he should remain as the quarterback for the team in the future. But whenever an opportunity presented itself, Campbell came up short each and every time.

With all that being said, what the Redskins are probably going to do is look for a new quarterback in the draft. It makes a lot of sense. Just as he did with Jay Cutler, Mike Shannahan is going to be looking for his "guy." The question is, who is that "guy?"

Experts like ESPN's Todd McShay are projecting the 'Skins to take former Heisman trophy winner Sam Bradford. Had Bradford came out of college as a junior last season, he would have easily gone number one to the Lions.

But Bradford made the choice to stay in school in hopes of winning a national title. Not only did that not happen for Bradford's Sooners, but Bradford was hurt throughout the season with various shoulder injuries. As a result, his playing time last season was very limited. His durability has also become a concern.

According to ESPN's Mel Kiper, however, predicts Jimmy Clausen of Notre Dame will be taken ahead of Bradford, going to the Redskins at number four. "Jimmy is as competitive as it gets. His accuracy is outstanding; his arm strength is good. To me, there are no questions about his competitiveness and leadership..." said Kiper when asked about Clausen's rise on his draft board.

One thing that Clausen and Bradford have in common is that neither guys will work out at the NFL Scouting Combine. Bradford is still nursing his shoulder, fresh off of surgery, and Clausen is trying not to aggravate a toe injury. Smart moves by both, as their draft status will not be affected.

On a personal level, I would rather have a quarterback who I know can stay healthy, than a quarterback who could have an injury that can affect him throughout his career.

Both Clausen and Bradford have similar skill sets. There is a difference in personality, as Clausen is a little more emotional than Bradford. That can be a good thing or a bad thing.

But Jason Campbell is clearly not the answer. Whether matched up against the Cowboys, Eagles, Giants, Lions, or Saints, Jason Campbell failed to come up strong when the team needed him to. Thus, Campbell is in his contract year, meaning his time in Washington is likely up.

If Campbell goes, which he probably will, expect the Redskins to go after Clausen, as most feel he has more upside than Bradford. No matter how he does in his first season, he will improve as the season goes on, learning from the experienced Shannahan. Not to mention, he will have the support of every Redskins fan... at least for this season.