Carolina Panther Fans' Great Debate: Jimmy Clausen vs. Andrew Luck

Aaron CronicanContributor IDecember 10, 2010

CHARLOTTE, NC - NOVEMBER 07:  Jimmy Clausen #2 of the Carolina Panthers throws a pass 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

The struggles of the Carolina Panthers have brought the inevitable onslaught of questions surrounding the organization.

The most obvious position to criticize during times of struggle is the quarterback. If you go to any Panthers forum, you will undoubtedly find the argument of whether Jimmy Clausen is the future of the Panthers, or whether the Panthers should draft Andrew Luck.

So, here I am to add fuel to the fire that is the debate over who should be the Panther's future QB. I will attempt to compare, in the most unbiased way I can, Clausen and Luck.

Here are the comparisons:

1) College Performance:

In Clausen's last year at Notre Dame, he posted great numbers. He threw for over 3,700 yards, 28 TDs, and only four INTs while posting a completion percentage of 68%.

In Andrew Luck's third year at Stanford (no bowl game stats yet), Luck has also compiled great stats. He has thrown for over 3,000 yards, 30 TDs, and eight INTs with a completion percentage of 70%.

Verdict: Clausen, as far as his college performance is concerned, has the upper hand, I believe.

Luck is on a Stanford team that has an offensive line that is far better than Clausen's at Notre Dame but has put up similar, if not worse, stats.

Clausen did, however, have the advantage of starting his freshman year.

2) Physical Attributes: 

Clausen, who is 22 years old, measures in at just over 6' 2" and weighs 223 pounds. Clausen's 40 time is 4.76. Clausen has above average but not great arm strength and accuracy.

Luck, who is 21 years old, measures in at 6' 4" and weighs 235 pounds. Lucks 40 time has been clocked between 4.63 and 4.84. Luck has shown great arm strength and above average accuracy.

Verdict: I have to give this one to Andrew Luck.

His bigger frame and stronger arm will definitely serve him well in the NFL, and although Luck's 40 time is similar to Clausen's, Luck has shown that he is a very good runner when the opportunity presents itself.

Luck also seems to have a passion and fire that I haven't seen from Clausen during his time with the Panthers.

3) Teachers:

Clausen spent his college career being taught by Charlie Weis. Weis spent time in the NFL as an Offensive coordinator under Bill Parcells with the Jets, then under Bill Belichick with the Patriots, where he helped Tom Brady become what he is. 

Andrew Luck has been taught by Jim Harbaugh, who played QB for the University of Michigan, was a Pro Bowl QB for the Colts and went on to play for many teams.

Verdict: It's a draw.

In my opinion, neither Clausen or Luck has the advantage for this one. Each QB has been taught by someone who has spent time in the NFL and both Weis and Harbaugh are very good at what they do.


So, who do I think is the future of the Carolina Panthers?

I believe both Clausen and Luck will be very good QBs in the NFL, but in my opinion, I would rather see the Panthers stick with Clausen—not because he is the better QB, but because the Panthers obviously need help at other positions.

In my opinion, the fans' desire for Luck is based on the idea that Luck will fix the Panthers problems. With the awful play calling, struggling offensive line and young receivers that the Panthers have, no quarterback could succeed.

Sure, Clausen shoulders some of the blame, but I believe with time and some talent around him, he could become a very solid QB. 

I think the Panthers should fix the problems at the other positions (Offensive and Defensive line), give Clausen a shot to prove himself and try to get back to being a winning team.