Most people expected Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford to be the number one selection of the St. Louis Rams in the 2010 NFL draft. He was. Many people also expected Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen to be the next QB taken, somewhere in the first round. Not only were they wrong about him being the next QB taken, Tim Tebow was at number 25 by the Denver Broncos, but they also were wrong about him going in the first round. In fact, Clausen fell all the way to number 48 where the Carolina Panthers used their second round pick to select him. Despite his slide, this was actually a blessing in disguise for the Notre Dame passer and a nice pick up for the Carolina Panthers.
Clausen could have gone to a number of teams that need some help at quarterback. Oakland, Buffalo, possibly Cleveland who seems to be rebuilding, or even Minnesota which is in the state of flux known as Brett Favre. He could have even gone to Denver which really doesn’t seem to have a legitimate starting quarterback and really doesn’t seem to want one. Instead he went to the Panthers who this off season dumped their starting quarterback Jake Delhomme for the rather unproven Matt Moore.
In Carolina, Clausen should have the chance to develop but also have the chance to compete for the starting job as soon as he is ready. He has the benefit of not being forced to play before he is ready, has a decent team surrounding him, and isn’t going to a team that seems to be very confused in what they are trying to do through the draft. In Carolina he has a decent offensive line, two very good running backs in Deangelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, and one of the leagues elite wide receivers in Steve Smith. For Clausen, this may have been the perfect scenario.
Carolina also got a great deal. Clausen was probably the most NFL ready quarterback coming out of this year’s draft. At Notre Dame he played in a pro style offense unlike quarterbacks Tebow and Bradford. He also didn’t suffer any big injuries like Bradford or Texas quarterback Colt McCoy did. And finally, playing at Notre Dame Clausen is use to the big stage and the pressure that goes along with it. Getting him in the second round may turn out to be the steal of the draft.
Of course there is the obvious downside for Clausen, the money. Being selected number 48 doesn’t allow Clausen to sign the same sort of contract as he could have gotten being taken in the first round. However, going to the Panthers will probably allow him to develop better on a decent team which could add years to his pro career. So the huge contract might not come right away, but in time he might make more because his career may be extended.
I’m sure Jimmy Clausen was hoping to go much higher in the draft then he did but in the end I think he should be pretty happy. He isn’t going to take the physical beating he would have on some other teams and he is going to be able to develop and compete for the starting job. Sliding this far in the draft may have been a surprise, but I am sure for the Carolina Panthers it was a pleasant one.