My pal Allen Kenney over at Blatant Homerism has crafted quite a nice article on why he feels his quarterback, Sam Bradford should be the first quarterback selected in the NFL draft. However, lets get one thing straight, he's an Oklahoma guy and it is quite easy for a Boomer Sooner supporter to throw on the Crimson and Cream glasses and tout Bradford.
It is another thing to take a guy who is apathetic towards a school and hear him defend Jimmy Clausen. A guy who despised Charlie Weis, was appalled at Clausen's limo-ridin' ceremony and enjoyed seeing his Heels pick off Jimmy and pound on the poorly protected quarterback. In short folks, I'm far from a Clausen supporter, in fact I'm by all accounts a Sooner fringe fan but I cannot let folks sit back and look at Bradford as the best selection when, to me, there is such a glaring potential for abject failure.
To put it another way, Clausen isn't my favorite quarterback, he didn't even make my Top 10 Prospects List for the upcoming draft. If I had my druthers the idea of taking either of these would be stowed away for pondering in the second round.
But alas it is my duty to inform why Clausen is my guy and Bradford is a no-no for us here at In The Bleachers.
Case for Clausen
There's no real need to use Clausen's stats as a justification for drafting him over Bradford, the Sooner truly blows him out of the water. However, Graham Harrell and Timmy Chang also hold that incredible distinction as well. Throw in Andre Ware and you've got a veritable round touble on no shot NFL quarterbacks.
Instead when I look for the pluses on Clausen, I center that argument on Clausen's toughness and his mastery of a proven NFL system. The kid truly owns those belts over Bradford and it is not even close.
Clausen's freshman season saw the spiky haired brat get tossed around like a rag doll behind a shoddy offensive line full of undersized, underexperienced and at times under talented players. He had no proven weapons and when weapons emerged he had no time to find them. The Irish, under Weis had zero rushing game and Clausen, operating from under center, got bashed as teams pinned back their ears to physically abuse the frosh.
Jimmy took a shot. Jimmy got back up. Jimmy called the play. Jimmy took another shot. Repeat the cycle.
He gained a lot of respect in my eyes for playing through the beatings. Not throwing a fit, not going down easy and not quitting. He worked to win every single play.
As Notre Dame got better so too did Clausen's numbers (and his hair). With the improvement we got a chance to notice what made the last (thank God) of the Clausen Bros the most heralded quarterback in the nation. He exhibited an understanding of the game and the arm strength that must be possessed by an NFL quarterback.
Clausen ran a similar offense to Tom Brady. The reads, the check downs, the progressions and the route-sight adjusts that guys like Drew Bledsoe and Vinny Testaverde used successfully in the NFL. Jimmy is ready to step right in and run one of the NFL's more complicated systems from the mental aspect. He's mastered reading defenses; both pre-snap and during his drop backs.
What separates Clausen is not just his mastery of the mental angle but also his ability to put this mental progress into practice. He has a great NFL arm, the type of arm that, without question is capable of NFL throws.
How do I know?
Because Clausen has already thrown the dig route to Golden Tate. He's already hit Kyle Rudolph on the deep come back route. Jimmy's already tossed the corner route between the safety and the cornerback to Michael Floyd. The kid has already thrown the deep out from the hash to Robby Parris.
While we're speculating about Snead, Bradford, Pike and Tebow's ability to make NFL throws the fact is only one quarterback in the draft of note has already proved this in game situations, Jimmy Clausen.
That is tangible. That is real. That isn't throwing the ball in a drill over air. That's not a pro day work out. That is a quarterback, with defenses bearing down on him standing in the pocket and throwing the ball with power to a target down field.
That can be seen on film.
And as football guys like to tell you, film don't lie.