Washington Redskins: Sam Bradford or Jimmy Clausen?

Adam HankinsCorrespondent IMarch 30, 2010

SOUTH BEND, IN - NOVEMBER 21: Jimmy Clausen #7 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish looks for a receiver in the first overtime period 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 double overtime. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The probability of the Washington Redskins selecting a quarterback in the first round of the draft is high. But which one of the top two quarterbacks will they end up with?


Sam Bradford's pro day performance was flawless, and it left many analysts gushing about his excellent accuracy and perfect mechanics. Some said it was the best private workout they had ever seen.


Nailing his workout, and putting to rest any concerns about his throwing abilities after his shoulder injury, Sam Bradford may have proved that he is worthy of the number one overall pick. Unless a significant trade offer comes their way before the draft, the St. Louis Rams will more than likely peg Bradford with their first pick.


The question is whether or not Mike Shanahan and the Redskins are willing to make a trade with the Rams for the right to select Bradford. Now that Bradford has aced a major test of his abilities, the price may be very high for any team wanting to deal with St. Louis.


What would it take for the Redskins to trade up now?


It could be a package such as Jason Campbell, Andre Carter (if he waived his no-trade clause), and the fourth pick. Or possibly Jason Campbell, Chris Cooley, and the fourth pick. Whatever the deal, the Redskins would have to give up some significant value for Bradford.


If the Redskins decide to stay put at number four, and the Rams eventually select Bradford themselves, who will they pick? Some people believe Shanahan would be satisfied with Jimmy Clausen.


Jimmy Clausen's reputation has been called into question by some analysts who believe he is cocky, immature, and lacking in leadership. Is it true? It's difficult to say, with all of the conflicting viewpoints. It's interesting to see that none of these reports on his character point to any specific instances, but rather speak in generalities.


More importantly, Jimmy Clausen made some great things happen on the football field. He had 28 touchdowns (with only 4 INT), a 68.0% completion percentage, and 3722 yards in 2009 with Notre Dame. While Notre Dame as a team had a less than spectacular year, it had more to do with poor defense than it did with Clausen's effort.


Unlike Bradford, Jimmy Clausen already has extensive experience with a pro-style offense. Of the two, Clausen is the most NFL ready quarterback, and his learning curve would be much smaller.


Would Shanahan take a risk on drafting Clausen? He wouldn't hesitate to do so if he believes Clausen has the natural ability to play.


Mike Shanahan is an excellent motivator, and if Clausen is lacking any intangibles, Shanahan will find a way to mold him and make him better. Jimmy Clausen is still a young kid, and major influences like the Shanahans will have a big impact on his maturity.


So, if the Redskins make one of these moves to grab their quarterback of the future, where does that leave them on their need for a left tackle?


Don't rule out a trade on or before draft day.


According to sources like Jason LaCanfora of the NFL Network, the Redskins may have an interest in pursuing someone like Jared Gaither of Baltimore. That may be a viable possibility, and Baltimore would probably be willing to part with him for the Redskins' second round pick.


Drafting a quarterback with the first pick, and then trading for a player like Gaither might satisfy both factions of the Redskins camp: those who want a quarterback, and those who want a solid left tackle.