2010 NFL Draft Fact Sheet: Jimmy Clausen from a Buffalo Bills Perspective

Chris Trapasso@ChrisTrapassoAnalyst IApril 11, 2010

PALO ALTO, CA - NOVEMBER 28:  Jimmy Clausen #7 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish walks the sideline during their game against the Stanford Cardinal at Stanford Stadium on November 28, 2009 in Palo Alto, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

After Jimmy Clausen finished his pro day on Friday, he reached the height of wonder amongst Bills fans when he announced to ESPN's Todd McShay that he had plans to visit One Bills Drive in the near future. 

Since Donovan McNabb was traded to the Redskins, Clausen's candidacy to become a Buffalo Bill at the ninth overall pick has skyrocketed. 

Some love him, some hate him. Some think he's the next Joe Montana, some see a reincarnation of J.P. Losman, another California kid. 

Several football rumor-generating sites say the Bills are interested and will take Clausen, with seemingly no other place for him to land in the top eight spots.

Analysts on other dot-com's cite "reliable sources" when they say Buffalo will start Clausen's slide down the first round, when they pass on him at number nine. 

So it's really where you look.

To shed much-needed light on the draft prospectus of Jimmy Clausen, here are the unbiased truths on the young signal caller. After you read, you can form your opinions accordingly...

To begin, Jimmy is the brother of two former Tennessee Volunteer quarterbacks, Rick and Casey Clausen. If you like that draft buzz phrase "has good bloodlines," Jimmy has decent ones. 

During his days as a high school quarterback, it's safe to say Jimmy owned the state of California. Clausen never lost a game at Oaks Christian Academy (42-0) and led the Lions to a state title in 2006. He owns the records for career touchdowns (146) and threw for a eye-popping 10,677 yards.

Clausen strolled onto Notre Dame's campus as the nation's top high school player, top offensive guy, best quarterback....you get the idea. If you like a player that's been a top- tier prospect since ninth grade, Jimmy's your guy.

During his three years as a Golden Domer, Clausen didn't quite match the buzz he created as a decorated prep school star.

No bias here, ask any ND crazy. 

He split time with Evan Sharpley in 2007, when Notre Dame lost a school-record nine games. With a porous offensive line and essentially no defense, there wasn't much the freshman Clausen could do. He was sacked 35 times in his 10 appearances during the year. 

Clausen's numbers as a freshman: 138 for 245 (56.3% comp.) 1,254 yards with seven touchdowns and six interceptions.

In 2008, Notre Dame finished 6-6. They beat rival Michigan, but lost to Syracuse at home. Clausen, as the entrenched starter with a year of experience under his belt, demonstrated his skills and poise in the pocket as quarterback. His notable games: in a win against Stanford completed 29 of 40 of his passes and totaled 347 yards with three scores. Against the Eagles of Boston College, in a 17-0 loss, Clausen accumulated 224 yards through the air, but was intercepted four times. 

Because the Fighting Irish got to the six win mark, they were awarded a trip to a bowl game. In the Hawaii Bowl against the hosting Hawaii Warriors, Clausen completed 85 percent of his passes and found the end zone five times in their 49-21 trouncing.  

Last year in Clausen's third and final season with Notre Dame, the Irish again finished at 6-6. After beginning the year 6-2, they ended on a disappointing four game losing streak.

Clausen bettered his sophomore campaign, throwing 28 touchdowns to only four interceptions. He topped the 300 yard mark seven times, and reached 400 yards passing twice. If you like dramatic statistical improvement, Jimmy might be your guy. 

ND Totals: 8,148 yards, 60 TDs 27 INTs

Here's a comprehensive look at Clausen's career at ND, outside the numbers:

Big/Quality Wins: Freshman Year - @ UCLA (20-6). Sophomore Year - Purdue (38-21), Hawaii Bowl (49-21). Junior Year - Michigan State (33-30), Boston College (20-16)

If you like a quarterback who's willed his team several huge victories, Clausen is probably NOT your guy. 

After dissecting his career, it makes sense to analyze Clausen's quarterback skill set. This is when bias usually sneaks its way in, but I'll try to be as non-partisan as possible.

Clausen initially gets a plus for his experience in a pro-style offense. Guys like Sam Bradford, Colt McCoy, and Tim Tebow all operated in the spread. He's studied how to read coverages, and has taken his fair share of snaps under center. 

Clausen's got a good arm. Not a great one. From what I've gathered, he's superb making the far hash to sideline throw and is great working underneath, but gets in trouble when looking across the deep middle. 

His release is the polar opposite of Tebow's in that it's very quick. He properly holds the ball close to his head, which leads to it rocketing out out of his hands—something that's been ingrained in him since his early days in California. If you like a player that possesses a good amount of natural ability, Clausen's your guy. 

He stands 6'3'' and weighs about 225 lbs—no size issues. 

Some say he's a little arrogant, some say he's shown great maturity and professionalism in this ultra-hyped draft processes. No one knows for sure, but with his immense talent, Clausen surely isn't the most humble guy in this year's class. 

Would he fit in Buffalo, driving the ball through the December winds? Will he finally materialize into the All-World quarterback many believed he'd be upon entering college? His time under Charlie Weis, coupled with his stellar arm and live release, could lead you to believe so.

Or does the fact that he never won the big game (ND schedules many) scare you? What about his pedestrian 2:1 touchdown to interception ratio?

After all this, is Clausen your guy?


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