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2010 NFL Draft

Over the last three days, the annual cattle market that is the NFL draft has been taking place at the Radio City Music Hall in New York City. For those of you who are not familiar with the draft, representatives of the league’s 32 teams attend and select new, eligible players coming out of college. The 2010 draft was slightly unusual as a record 53 non-seniors entered in an attempt to secure bigger NFL contracts before a new Collective Bargaining Agreement can be agreed.

Going in to the draft, there were many questions being asked by analysts and fans alike. Would 2008 Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford be the number one pick? How would 2007 winner Tim Tebow fair? Would Jacoby Ford’s lightning quick 4.28 40 yard dash at the recent NFL Combine be enough to secure him a high pick? Another name on analysts’ lips and tipped to be a top 10 pick was Notre Dame Quarterback Jimmy Clausen and here lies the big story of the draft.

The draft started as expected with Oklahoma’s Bradford being taken first up by the St Louis Rams where he should be a good fit in a run heavy offensive. Other highly regarded prospects such as Tennessee’s Eric Berry (5th pick – Kansas), Alabama’s star linebacker Rolando McClain (8th pick – Oakland) and Clemson’s CJ Spiller (9th pick – Buffalo) followed. Clausen did not go in the top 10 but his name was expected to be called any moment. General Managers from all over the league came and chose but still Clausen’s name had not been called. Tim Tebow, not viewed as being as suited to the pro game as Clausen, was picked at 25 by the Denver Broncos. God knows what Clausen must have been thinking. Then, almost unthinkably, the first round came to a close. Clausen would have to come back on day two.

Surely he would go early on day two? Not quite. Franchises continued to overlook him and then came the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals could use a QB following Kurt Warner’s retirement and could do worse than look to acquire a young player around whom they can build their team. Moreover, the Cards had traded up and so seemed to be interested in Clausen. They were not, passing up on the opportunity to draft the man from Notre Dame. The next pick, the 48th of the draft, was held by the Carolina Panthers. At the end of last season, the Panthers released long-time starting Quarterback Jake Delhomme, leaving them with Matt Moore as their first string passer. He has only started eight games in the NFL and so it remains to be seen how well he will do as a week in week out starter. Drafting a quarterback therefore made sense for Carolina and the Panthers’ General Manager Marty Hurney agreed. He wasted no time in pouncing to pick Clausen and he feels they have done well to secure such a player with the 48th pick. Clausen can now look forward to a quality target in four time Pro Bowler Steve Smith and with a strong run offense led by DeAngelo Williams, (1117 yards in 13 games on 5.2 yards per carry last season) he will not have to carry the offensive load on his own. All in all, it could turn out to be a good move for the former Fighting Irish star.

Clausen is not the first quarterback to suffer such a snub at the draft. In 2005, Aaron Rodgers was a projected top 10 pick but had to wait until the 24th pick before the Packers finally snapped him up. Brady Quinn, now of Cleveland, suffered a similar fate two years later when he went at 22. Those two however, still went in the first round. If they dropped, Clausen has plummeted. Why?

In all honesty, it is not quite clear why. The young quarterback has recently undergone toe surgery so perhaps there are concerns about his ability to step in to the throw. There are also rumours that some doubt his leadership qualities, but is that enough to cause such a slide down the draft order? NFL.com’s Vic Carucci believes it may be down to concerns about his ability to throw long. According to Carucci, coaches have studied his passing mechanics and feel that he struggles when doing so, having to twist his body quite a lot to generate sufficient power. This seems to be a reasonable explanation, particularly as there is no hint of anything more sinister being the reason.

So should Clausen worry? No. Being taken high in the draft is not a guarantee of success in the NFL. Anybody remember the king of all draft busts Ryan Leaf? Let’s not forget Tom Brady was the 199th pick (yes you did read that correctly) when he was drafted and look what he has achieved. As mentioned above, Carolina could well turn out to be a good home for Clausen so it could be a blessing in disguise.

What may concern the youngster is how much in guaranteed money this will have cost him. It could well be anything up to $20 million. If he can prove himself at Carolina however, he will be able to command the big bucks in no time so his focus will be on his game and let’s face it, he will hardly be on the bread line.

Incidentally, the last quarterback to suffer such an ignominious drop down the draft order was the great Dan Marino in 1983, who dropped to 27th following concerns over the state of his knees. If Clausen can achieve half of what the great Hall of Famer did, he will retire a happy man.

2010 Draft Key Picks

No. 1 Pick: Sam Bradford – Oklahoma (St Louis Rams)

Mr Irrelevant: Tim Toone – Weber State (Detroit Lions)

Surprise Pick: Tim Tebow – Florida 25th (Denver Broncos).

Other Notable picks: Eric Berry – Tennessee 5th (Kansas City Chiefs), Rolando McClain – Alabama 8th (Oakland Raiders), CJ Spiller – Clemson 9th (Buffalo Bills), Colt McCoy – Texas 85th (Cleveland Browns), Jacoby Ford – Clemson 108th (Oakland Raiders)

For full details of this year’s draft visit nfl.com

Categories: American Football
  1. April 25, 2010 at 10:38 pm

    There is no doubt he is talented (you don’t win a Heisman if you’re not) and experts have been wrong many many times before. I mean they all thought Ryan Leaf was going to be a better NFL QB than Peyton Manning and look how that turned out. I think Tebow could be a success but I’m just a bit concerned that Denver is maybe not the best fit for him

  2. John Platt
    April 25, 2010 at 10:06 pm

    I’m no longer anonymous now!

  3. Anonymous
    April 25, 2010 at 9:50 pm

    Surprised to see Teebow so far down in the draft. Many experts / pundits have argued that the speed of the NFL would mitigate TT’s pass accuracy but having seen the big man in action first hand & witnessed him single-handedly carry the Gators in recent seasons I have every faith he’ll make a good go of things at The Broncos & could prove to be the surprise act of the 10/11′ season…

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