Cleveland Browns: Browns Were Wise To Pass On Panthers QB, Jimmy Clausen

Robert CobbCorrespondent INovember 25, 2010

CHARLOTTE, NC - NOVEMBER 07:  Jimmy Clausen #2 of the Carolina Panthers against the New Orleans Saints during their game at Bank of America Stadium on November 7, 2010 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Happy Thanksgiving.  

As we all reunite with family over turkey and stuffing along with watching some great football games this weekend, you cannot also be thankful that the Browns, at 3-7, are better and further along than where they were after 10 games last year when they were 1-9.   

The Browns would go on to finish on a four game winning streak highlighted by a 13-6 upset of the defending Super Bowl champion, Pittsburgh Steelers and earn the seventh pick in the 2010 NFL Draft.   

Going into the draft, numerous NFL mock drafts including my own here on Bleacher Report had Cleveland selecting Notre Dame quarterback, Jimmy Clausen in the first round. At that time it made sense considering that former Notre Dame standout Brady Quinn and the incumbent starter, Derek Anderson, struggled. 

When newly hired Browns president, Mike Holmgren evaluated Jimmy Clausen and said the now infamous quote of, "I wish I liked him more" It sealed Clausen's fate as the Browns would go on to select Florida defensive back Joe Haden No. 7 overall this past spring.  

After that rebuttal by Holmgren, Clausen slid all the way down to the second round where the Carolina Panthers would select him 48th overall, Cleveland would go on and select Texas Longhorns quarterback Colt McCoy 85th overall in the third round.

And the perfect irony is that Jimmy Clausen will now face the team and president that just didn't like him enough this Sunday in Cleveland. 

For the former Notre Dame standout it was a monumental slide alongside the ranks of former Cal quarterback Aaron Rodgers, now a Pro-Bowl standout playing in Green Bay, and former Irish quarterback Brady Quinn who was selected by Cleveland and ultimately traded to Denver for Peyton Hillis.  

Clausen, 23, had all the tools and promise an organization could ask for except maturity.  

Despite passing for 3,722 yards, completing 68.8 percent of his passes, putting up an impressive 161.42 passer rating along with 28 touchdowns and four interceptions his final year at Notre Dame, Clausen's off-the-field cocky attitude and altercations—most notably outside of a pub in South Bend—led many to believe he was not one to be the face of a  team let alone it's franchise quarterback.  

There were also issues concerning his arm strength and accuracy which may have also turned off some teams but there was not doubt that Clausen was ready for the NFL as he ran Charlie Weis' New England-style offense with ease.   

Personally, I really thought and felt at that time that Clausen would have been a great fit and possible franchise savior for the Browns.

While I was not very high on McCoy initially and especially after his shoulder injury against Alabama in the BCS National Championship game, seeing how McCoy moves the Browns' new west coast hybrid offense, I can gladly feel that Holmgren made the right choice in choosing Colt McCoy over Jimmy Clausen.    

Holmgren's choice has been justified as correct as Clausen has thrown for only 698 yards, one touchdown and an abysmal QB rating of 53.8. He has also completed 48.6 percent of his passes.

After his first three NFL starts and being pulled in Week 5, Clausen was benched after tossing three interceptions. Clausen has also fumbled seven times, losing two and had a altercation with fellow teammate, All-Pro wide receiver, Steve Smith and you can see that his maturity issues have continued to haunt him.

Compare that to McCoy's easy going Texas cool and his three touchdowns, three interceptions and a much more respectable 85.3 QB rating and 975 yards passing along with his rising cult hero status in Cleveland, McCoy is clearly the better decision and this Thanksgiving we should all be thankful that for once Cleveland may have made the right decision.