Carolina Panthers: Is Jimmy Clausen a Legitimate QB Option in the NFL?

Antonio BonkalskiContributor IIIJuly 12, 2011

Jimmy Clausen has a chance to be an NFL Starter
Jimmy Clausen has a chance to be an NFL StarterScott Halleran/Getty Images

The Carolina Panthers drafted Cam Newton with the first-overall pick in the most recent draft but it may not be the former Auburn Tiger that takes the reins as starting quarterback to start the season.

That is, not if Jimmy Clausen has anything to say about it.

The Panthers saw their future in Clausen when they drafted in the second round last year out of Notre Dame, but after a disappointing rookie season they seem changed their plans. They have now put the fate of their team into a college superstar named Cam Newton, but when exactly will the change take effect? For Carolina it may not be the first week.

According to the Charlotte Observer, Clausen will most likely be the starter for the opening weekend game against the Cardinals. Of course, if Clausen gets the chance he will have to impress more than his coaches, he will have to impress an entire state. The key is that he will get the chance to impress though, and if he does, Cam Newton’s future as the star in Carolina will be put on hold.

Clausen has the necessary tools and he had shown a lot of poise under Charlie Weis in college. Unfortunately, when he arrived in the NFL it was a complete turnaround and he had about the worst season as could be expected. However, Clausen was a rookie and they are called rookie mistakes for a reason.

Clausen will have a chance to start a few games before the Newton era begins in Carolina, and he will have to use those few opportunities to showcase that he is a legitimate NFL quarterback.

He was scared to make a mistake with the Panthers last season, but now he now has nothing to lose. Don’t be surprises if you see the cautious Clausen of the past turn into a gun-slinging quarterback putting everything on the line.

He may fail and many expect him to, but what if he doesn’t?