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Jimmy Clausen the best NFL-ready junior quarterback in league history

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  • Jimmy Clausen the best NFL-ready junior quarterback in league history

    ***DISCLAIMER: The following article is an article independent of shower_beers. The opinions expressed in this article are of another party, and in no way endorses this opinion as his own ***


    Here's something juicy to hold everyone over until draft time.


    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    This is Matt McGuire's NFL Draft blog, where he'll talk about the NFL Draft, anything that has to do with football and whatever else is on his mind.
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    Posted Dec. 29, 2009

    Junior Quarterbacks - Jimmy Clausen

    I bet you never thought in the past month that Notre Dame junior quarterback Jimmy Clausen is one of the most underappreciated quarterback prospects in the history of the NFL Draft. But after reading this blog entry, you just might change your mind.

    First, I am going to tell you why you might not like Clausen, and let's be real here, there is a lot of bias against him. Some criticism is warranted, but a lot isn't.

    Notre Dame is the most hated football program in America, period. They are the Duke of the gridiron. Automatically, you hate Clausen because he went to Notre Dame, just like you hated J.J. Reddick because he went to Duke. If you want to make an analysis as objective and professional as possible, then you need to cut the crap and get over the Notre Dame hate if you have it - and a lot of that is out there. Think about it: if you put Sanchez on Notre Dame and Jimmy Clausen at USC, then Sanchez is the hated prospect and Clausen is the beloved underclassman.

    Maybe you don't like Clausen because of the blond, spiky hair, or the limo appearance he had when he was a senior in high school to declare for Notre Dame. These aren't "low profile" characteristics and automatically, you might have disliked him.

    For whatever reasons you're down on Clausen, please put them in the back seat and have an open mind when reading this blog entry.

    Clausen just amassed one of the most impressive junior seasons among pro-style quarterbacks in the past 10-20 years.

    Let's remember that Clausen had a very bad offensive line this year for Notre Dame. Sure, he had good weapons, but the running game was poor and receivers Michael Floyd and Kyle Rudolph missed significant action (eight games missed total between them).

    When Floyd went out, Clausen stepped up. With a bum turf toe, he didn't play at all in the second half and led the team to a game-winning drive to beat Purdue. The following week, he posted 422 passing yards against Washington. Over the next three games (USC, Boston College, Washinton State), Clausen threw for 774 yards, six touchdowns and zero interceptions.

    Clausen is a huge reason for Golden Tate's big season as well. While Tate is a talented player, he couldn't have done it without Clausen's extremely high level of accuracy.

    Numerous times, Clausen played through pain this season. He led his team in games in crunch time, and was without a doubt the most clutch quarterback in the nation this year.

    Criticizing Clausen because he had talent around him is a very poor argument. It isn't like Clausen was putting up just above average statistics - he dominated opponents. He showed a very high football IQ and rarely forced the ball in coverage. Did he throw some balls up for grabs? Sure, but Peyton Manning does the same thing occasionally to Reggie Wayne. Drew Brees lofts the ball up for Marques Colston in the red zone. Philip Rivers relies on Vincent Jackson. Quarterbacks can't do it all by themselves.

    One statistic that can't be discussed enough is Clausen's 7:1 touchdown-intercpetion ratio, which is absolutely unheard of among junior quarterbacks in pro-style offenses. This is just ridiculous. It doesn't happen and it isn't supposed to happen. Give the man some credit where credit is due.

    The bottom line is Clausen certainly needs to be looked at as one of, if not the most polished junior quarterback prospect in the history of the NFL Draft. I didn't say the BEST junior quarterback prospects because he doesn't have the physical skill, but he is certainly one of the most NFL-ready.

    Analyze the statistics of a select group of quarterbacks in the spreadsheet below; all of these stats were taken from each quarterback's junior season. Aside from Matthew Stafford (I'm including him because I had him No. 1 overall on my big board), these highly thought-of quarterbacks that have gone on to outstanding success in the NFL.

    Clausen simply blows everyone out of the water. His touchdown-interception ratio puts Peyton Manning's 1996 season to shame. His completion percentage is a good five points ahead of Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger. Clausen threw six less interceptions than EVERYONE.

    Clausen's ranks across the board: 1st, 2nd, 1st, 1st, 1st, 1st.

    I just don't understand how someone like Todd McShay can say Clausen is a second-round talent when you consider how his statistics compare to some of the NFL's current greats.

    I'm not a fan of just analyzing statistics, and my evaluation of Clausen really doesn't have very much to do with them. All I am doing is putting his season into perspective.

    The perspective proves that Clausen is worthy of much more respect than I feel like he is getting at the moment. We will probably never see a better junior season ever again. Charlie Weis leaving the college game means that there is one less West Coast offense in the NCAA.

    Over the next 10 years, I fear that nearly all snaps are going to be taken out of shotgun and NFL front offices are going to be throwing darts and evaluating prospects based on physical tools only since the schemes are so easy to execute.

    Clausen isn't executing an easy scheme - he is executing the toughest scheme on the national stage. Every week the camera is on him, and every week he delivered. If Notre Dame's defense was just above average, this team would have won 10 games.

    If you don't like Clausen because he is cocky, then that is fine. I just hope you are consistent and also say Rivers is a bad NFL quarterback because he is cocky - because a slightly confident leader can't win games in the NFL, right?

    Maybe if Philip Rivers went to Notre Dame...



  • #2
    Re: Jimmy Clausen the best NFL-ready junior quarterback in league history

    I dont dislike Clausen because he went to ND, the only college program I Hate is USC And I dont like dislike him because he has supposed character problems, I dont see any big flaws there. As a matter of fact I dont dislike Clausen at all, I think he is a good player. I just think Bradford is better. There is only one major flaw I would really be concerned about when drafting Clausen, and that is his football IQ. Lets face it the man makes very strange decisions throwing the ball at critical times in the game.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Jimmy Clausen the best NFL-ready junior quarterback in league history

      Thats cute.

      However I'd like to see some busts on that list and see their rankings. I'm sure there have been some Qb's with similar stats that never panned out in the NFL. There is the flaw in this argument. Selective comparison.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Jimmy Clausen the best NFL-ready junior quarterback in league history

        Interesting! I don't mind Clausen as the QB. But we better trade down because we all know he'll still be there at the end of the top ten.

        And what are people really complaining about a cocky attitude for? As long he puts in the work studying film and doing drills he can be as cocky as he wants. Ask his teammates at ND about his character.

        I don't think the rams know where they are going this year with thier first pick.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Jimmy Clausen the best NFL-ready junior quarterback in league history

          Originally posted by The Optimistic Lamb View Post
          There is the flaw in this argument. Selective comparison.
          Everyone uses Selective arguments in their post. I use it all the time. The point of the article is that he can be compared to NFL players who so far have had very good careers.

          EDIT: Ok so Stafford has really proven anything yet.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Jimmy Clausen the best NFL-ready junior quarterback in league history

            i recall reading that article about a month back..i liked Clausen anyway but its worth looking at for those who try to rubbish the merits of a prospect if they already have a man-crush over somebody else at that position.

            not saying who is the best QB prospect between Bradford & Clausen..but i do feel that Jimmy would be the better fit for us..atleast in his rookie season..also i think Bradford is more Boom or Bust than Clausen who i think will almost certainly IMHO have atleast a very good career at the minimum.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Jimmy Clausen the best NFL-ready junior quarterback in league history

              Originally posted by The Optimistic Lamb View Post
              Thats cute.

              However I'd like to see some busts on that list and see their rankings. I'm sure there have been some Qb's with similar stats that never panned out in the NFL. There is the flaw in this argument. Selective comparison.

              That's what immediately stuck out to me as well, but I was going to wait until I started seeing people comment on the article before providing a counter-argument. A quick example would be Troy Smith, who went 203/311 for a 65.3% completion rating, passing for 2,542 yards and 30 TDs to 6 picks. Smith also coming from a near pro-style offense run at Ohio State.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Jimmy Clausen the best NFL-ready junior quarterback in league history

                Originally posted by shower beers View Post
                That's what immediately stuck out to me as well, but I was going to wait until I started seeing people comment on the article before providing a counter-argument. A quick example would be Troy Smith, who went 203/311 for a 65.3% completion rating, passing for 2,542 yards and 30 TDs to 6 picks. Smith also coming from a near pro-style offense run at Ohio State.
                Troy Smith has still not been given a fair shot as a starting QB. The Ravens immediately drafted Flacco and plugged him in.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Jimmy Clausen the best NFL-ready junior quarterback in league history

                  Originally posted by The Optimistic Lamb View Post
                  Thats cute.
                  Is this even an acceptable adjective for a football message board? ;)

                  At any rate I think Suh is cuter, select him!
                  LA RAMMER

                  It's Jim not Chris
                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HNgqQVHI_8

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Jimmy Clausen the best NFL-ready junior quarterback in league history

                    Originally posted by 01d 0rd3r View Post
                    Troy Smith has still not been given a fair shot as a starting QB. The Ravens immediately drafted Flacco and plugged him in.
                    Oh, I simply meant that he wasn't drafted anywhere near the first round, even with his heisman winning numbers.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Jimmy Clausen the best NFL-ready junior quarterback in league history

                      imo i think clausen will be a better qb than bradford. hell i think lefevour is gonna be a better qb than him. before each play on offense Clausen called his own audibles. bradford looked at the sideline for his coach to call them. the major problem i have with drafting either of these qbs first overall is that none of them are elite. they are very good but i don't think they are can't miss prospects and rather they are just the best qbs of the draft class

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Jimmy Clausen the best NFL-ready junior quarterback in league history

                        If your gonna soley rely on statistics, how about throwing Tim Tebow on that list? He has the stats to rival everyone's. He has a higher comp %, YPA, threw less interceptions, and had more touchdowns than Peyton Manning did...

                        He rivals Jimmy Clausen's stats in every area other than total yardage. But then again Clausen threw 100+ more passes than Tebow. And to top it off Tebow's attitude is unquestionable. It's not like he's gonna self destruct like Ryan Leaf.

                        So Clausen has A+ stats but you run the risk with his attitude.

                        Tebow has A- stats but has off the wall intangibles. Biggest risk being his throwing motion.

                        A throwing motion is easier to coach than leadership abilities.
                        Last edited by The Optimistic Lamb; -03-08-2010, 12:30 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Jimmy Clausen the best NFL-ready junior quarterback in league history

                          Originally posted by The Optimistic Lamb View Post
                          Thats cute.

                          However I'd like to see some busts on that list and see their rankings. I'm sure there have been some Qb's with similar stats that never panned out in the NFL. There is the flaw in this argument. Selective comparison.
                          Who would you select to compare Clausen with? I tried JaMarcus, Brady Quinn, & Alex Smith. The only one who topped Clausen in any categories in his junior year was Quinn.

                          Apples vs pears, anyway. Too many variables for such comparisons to be anything but a starting point in evaluation.

                          Having watched a few games very closely now, I am really nervous about this guy going to Seattle.

                          As to the diss about his football IQ...well, I watched him audible into several TD pass plays , regularly look off safeties to free up WRs, make lightning quick throws after the snap that demonstrate he understood exactly what the D was going to do & beat them to it . You can pick out plays here & there from any QB, Warner & Favre inc, that look like idiotic mistakes especially at the end of games, but I think Clausen showed jawdropping football IQ most of the time I watched him.

                          Add a pretty high "degree of hardship' factor for a junior with a porous O-line, no run game,lousy D, and torn toe ligaments & I think there's a good chance this kid is a legit top ten prospect at the next level in terms of physical talent, smarts, and competitive toughness.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Jimmy Clausen the best NFL-ready junior quarterback in league history

                            Originally posted by shower beers View Post
                            Oh, I simply meant that he wasn't drafted anywhere near the first round, even with his heisman winning numbers.
                            Jason White, anybody?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Jimmy Clausen the best NFL-ready junior quarterback in league history

                              I expected an article with such a bold title to consist of an argument more substantial than "he had a really good TD-INT ratio."

                              Comment

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                              • Varg6
                                Real Speculation Begins on Clausen...
                                by Varg6
                                Per ESPN.com *Rumor Central*

                                For over a week, we've been speculating on which NFL team would draft Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen if he went pro. Take the "if" out of that equation now, because ESPN.com's Joe Schad is reporting that Clausen will declare for the draft. So was he pushed in that direction by some unruly fans? We got word from ESPN.com's Joe Schad on Tuesday that Clausen was decked in the face by a surly Notre Dame fan on Sunday morning. It certainly didn't help keep him in school.

                                Clausen is one of the more intriguing names on Mel Kiper Jr.'s Big Board, and some analysts think he could be the first QB drafted this April.

                                Here was Kiper last week on the teams that might be interested in the gunslinger:

                                Mel's take-

                                "Leaving all the coaching chatter aside, which could obviously affect his decision, Clausen could certainly be the top quarterback taken. I think he's certainly capable of going in the top 10 or 12, and remember, St. Louis might want a quarterback, Washington might want a quarterback, we're not sure if Oakland will draft one, but they're another team with a problem at the position. The struggles at Notre Dame you can't put on Clausen. He's been battered, particularly early on. But he can play the position and personnel people know it. Comparing him and [UW's Jake] Locker, for instance, Clausen is far more refined at this stage."

                                ----

                                The reason I posted this was because of that one sentence in Mel's quote about personnel people. It'll certainly be interesting to see what we do in the upcoming draft.
                                -11-26-2009, 10:44 AM
                              • npow81
                                If Clausen Didn't Play for Notre Dame...
                                by npow81
                                I don't think he would be regarded as a first round talent.

                                I think its remarkable how much different people view qbs depending on who they play for. Which is relevant only to the level of competition they play against and who they actually play for (and NDs schedule really isn't anything to shout about aside from SC and maybe BC)

                                I think this is especially true for ND, considering they are on TV virtually every week.

                                While I think Clausen has talent, I think his issues (pocket presence, delivery, lack of winning, etc.) should raise some questions enough that he shouldn't be in the first round.

                                Frankly I don't regard him as anymore than a second rounder (which gauging by some of yours love for him I sure you will disagree)

                                I guess you can put it this way, if Tony Pike or Dan Lefevour played for ND would they be regarded as first rounders?

                                In my mind they are near the same level, so the stark contrast in perceived value makes me wonder...is this the case

                                (If you don't think so, what are the qualities in Clausen that differeniate him...because I don't see it.)
                                -02-17-2010, 09:57 PM
                              • AvengerRam_old
                                The more Jimmy Clausen film I watch...
                                by AvengerRam_old
                                ... the more impressed I am with Golden Tate.

                                Its almost shocking how often Clausen heaved the ball from his back foot only to be bailed out by Tate. Those kind of throws won't work in the NFL on a consistent basis.

                                If the Rams took Suh in the first round and Clausen somehow fell to #33, I would consider taking a shot on him. Otherwise... not interested.
                                -03-16-2010, 11:51 AM
                              • shower beers
                                Clausen to enter draft
                                by shower beers
                                I'm sure this excites a lot of you here...


                                per ESPN:

                                Jimmy Clausen enrolled at Notre Dame to learn about the NFL. Looks like he's learned enough.
                                Following the advice of deposed Irish coach Charlie Weis, Clausen has decided to forgo his senior season and enter this April's draft. Rated as perhaps the top quarterback in this year's class, he is believed to be coveted by St. Louis, Cleveland and Washington -- three teams that will conceivably pick in the top 5.

                                Coach Weis told me whether he was going to be here or not be here, it was time for me to go. He thought I've improved so much since I came to Notre Dame. So, I'm taking his advice, and I'm going to head out.
                                -- Jimmy Clausen
                                "After the season, in talking to my parents and obviously Coach Weis, I just feel it's the right time,'' Clausen told ESPN.com on Monday before a scheduled 2 p.m. ET news conference in South Bend. "Coach Weis told me whether he was going to be here or not be here, it was time for me to go. He thought I've improved so much since I came to Notre Dame. So, I'm taking his advice, and I'm going to head out.''


                                The consensus No 1 high school recruit in the country three years ago, Clausen chose Notre Dame over USC solely because of Weis' NFL pedigree. Weis -- who tutored both Tom Brady and Drew Bledsoe in New England -- assured Clausen he would prepare him best for the pro game, and Clausen rewarded the coach with a spectacular junior season.


                                He completed 68 percent of his passes, and threw 28 touchdowns with only four interceptions -- three of which were tipped. Weis has told NFL scouts that Clausen "didn't miss a read all year," and particularly raved about his accuracy and personal growth.


                                As a freshman, coming off of elbow surgery, Clausen weighed only 190 pounds and played behind a porous offensive line. He was vilified during that year's 3-9 season, but bounced back as a sophomore to lead Notre Dame to its first bowl victory since 1994 (over Hawaii). In the offseason before his junior year, he invited several Irish receivers to his home in Westlake Village, Calif., and the bonding experience paid off. He was picked as a team captain, and ended up throwing 24 of his touchdowns to wide receivers Golden Tate and Michael Floyd.



                                The Irish slumped to a 6-6 finish, and Clausen was sucker-punched by a fan outside of a South Bend bar after a devastating overtime loss to Connecticut. But six days later, he threw for 340 yards and five touchdowns at Stanford, and his ability to persevere is why several general managers, who have requested anonymity, believe he is the most NFL-ready quarterback in this year's draft. They say he's already mastered an NFL offense, has already been subjected to a leaky offensive line and has already been part of a rebuilding process. They like that he played his entire college career...
                                -12-07-2009, 09:24 AM
                              • Nick
                                ESPN Draft Lab: Jimmy Clausen analysis
                                by Nick
                                Lessons of Brees extended to Clausen
                                By K.C. Joyner
                                ESPN Insider
                                Saturday, January 30, 2010
                                Updated: February 9, 3:36 PM ET

                                What this is: During the year, Football Scientist K.C. Joyner has evaluated top NFL draft prospects. This week he looks at former Notre Dame Fighting Irish QB Jimmy Clausen.

                                When grading a quarterback's arm strength, I often think back to a line from former San Francisco ***** coach Bill Walsh in Dr. Z's classic book, "The New Thinking Man's Guide To Pro Football." Some in the media had called Super Bowl XVI a battle between Walsh's brains and Cincinnati coach Forrest Gregg's discipline. That viewpoint led Walsh to ask this question: What constituted discipline? Was it being physically tough on someone? Or could it also be executing a highly choreographed set of moves under the pressure of competition? The answer is that it could be either, and it really depended on what one meant by the word discipline.

                                The same thing goes for measuring the velocity of a passing arm. The gold standard in this area is the deep out pass, but that throw requires a much different kind of delivery and less touch than many other important vertical passes, such as the go, corner, post and fade routes.

                                Now, let's look at Jimmy Clausen. It is pretty much a given that Clausen will be a first-round draft pick, but his arm strength is enough of a question mark to cause his predicted draft slot status to vary significantly. For example, Mel Kiper's initial mock draft has Clausen going to the Buffalo Bills at the No. 9 spot because he possesses "an NFL arm." Scouts Inc.'s Todd McShay, on the other hand, has Clausen going in the No. 23 spot (to the Seattle Seahawks) in part because "he doesn't have ideal arm strength."

                                So which analyst is right?

                                The odd thing is that they both are on the money. After breaking down six of Clausen's 2009 game tapes (at Michigan, at Michigan State, vs. USC, vs. Boston College, vs. Connecticut and at Stanford), I found metrics and scouting notes to back both sides of that argument.

                                For example, Clausen did a fine job on the 13 deep out passes he threw. Eleven of them were on target (on target being defined as landing within the catching frame of the receiver) and seven ended up being completed. He was also 2-for-2 on the comeback route -- which is a close cousin of the deep out -- so he was on the money on 13 out of 15 of the vertical outside routes.

                                Clausen also displayed superb accuracy on the long passes that require more arc than the deep out. He was one for two on the corner route and would have been two for two if not for a dropped pass. Clausen also completed the only deep post route he threw.

                                Throwing into high traffic areas also was an area of strength for Clausen, something that is evidenced by his seven completions in eight...
                                -02-10-2010, 11:08 PM
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