Mark it down now, Jimmy Clausen will be the first pick of the NFL Draft in 2010. He has all the tools to be a great franchise QB. He has played in a pro style offense since his freshmen year and he makes all the throws he has to make; he also has a plus arm for the NFL level. The Rams were one of the worst offenses in football for yet another year, mainly because they had the likes of a Kevin Null as their QB; because Marc Bulger just can’t stay healthy any more. Steve Spagnuolo and the rest of the Rams organization are smart enough to realize that in order to win in this league you need a good quarterback and the Rams do not have one. Spags and the rest of the Rams organization will not pass up on Clausen as they passed on Mark Sanchez last year largely because of the contract of Bulger; if I was most NFL teams I would take Clausen ahead of Bradford. Bradford could very easily just be a system QB; he played his whole sophomore season in a spread shotgun offense. Name me one franchise type QB who came from a spread shotgun offense in College. Until it happens I think it’s too much of a risk to take Bradford in the top 5, however that does not mean I dont think Bradford wont be a good NFL quarterback. I will have more on Bradford in another article, as he is a very interesting prospect.
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish were not very successful under Clausen’s lead. This will probably be the biggest nock on Clausen as he is evaluated. Other problems that could hurt his draft stock are that there have been some rumors that he’s immature and also that he is cocky. These rumored characteristics could be a problem if he is not able to back his cockiness up on the field. A perfect example of this is Phillip Rivers; Rivers is very loud and arrogant on the field but he backs up almost everything he says by his performance and his overall toughness.
Another huge positive for Clausen is that he did not have tremendous amount of talent surrounding him at Notre Dame, and he still managed to make them respectable and even crack the top 25 this year. Aside from Golden Tate there are not many if any high prospects coming out of Notre Dame this year, which just goes to show you he was not working with a lot. However Michael Floyed the terrific sophomore receiver from Notre Dame is going to be a stud in the NFL whenever he decides to enter the draft, either in 2011 or 2012. An argument against Clausen is that Brady Quin came from the same system under Charlie Weis and he has not performed anywhere close to the hype; my answer for that argument is simple, they are not the same player or person. 1) Clausen, from what it seems, has a much more powerful arm; he makes more throws down the field. 2) He played with a much weaker team then Quin did in his Notre Dame career, especially the offensive line. Many people forget that Brady Quin played with the best Wide Receiver in Notre Dame history; that receiver was Jeff Samardzija who is currently a pitcher for the Chicago Cubs. 3) Quin had amazing stats as well but the stat line for Clausen is just out of this world. Now I don’t mean passing yards and touchdowns, as those stats rarely show how good a college quarterback will transfer into the NFL. The two stats that really stood out to me was his completion percentage and his yards per attempt, which both were incredible. His completion percentage was 68% and even more impressive was his 8.8 yards per attempt. Honestly if you’re getting basically 9 yards every time you complete a pass you’re definitely moving your offense down the field. He also only threw 4 interceptions in over 400 hundred pass attempts, that shows that not only will he get you a lot of yards per play but he will do it in an efficient manner. Now granted, players like Tebow and Bradford may have higher yards per completion but that is out of the spread shotgun offenses and Clausen does it under center in a pro style offense.
The experience that Clausen has playing in a pro style offense combined with being very successful in running it will only help his draft stock and chances of having a big impact on any organization that is able to take him. He has the arm strength to stretch the field and he has the accuracy to keep the chains moving. He reminds me a lot of Matt Stafford of last year, and I feel that Clausen will develop into an all pro player. My prediction on where he will go is pretty obvious; I feel he will go number one to the Rams. However there is a chance that the Rams might go with defense maybe Ndamukung Suh out of Oklahoma, if that happens he will definitely get drafted by the Washington Redskins at pick number 4. In my opinion the chances of him falling past the number one overal selection is very slim but hey anything could happend.
Look back in the next few days/weeks for an analyst on Sam Bradford, Colt McCoy, Tim Tebow, and Tony Pike. Comments on this article are greatly appreciated, would love to hear everyone opinions on what I wrote and anything else involving the NFL draft, thanks!