Tuesday, 9 February 2010

High marks for Jimmy Clausen

By Rob Staton
The one series I've consistently enjoyed this year has been K.C. Joyner's Draft Lab Series. This week he analyses Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen and offers a very positive review. I've been a critic of Clausen's in the past, however - the points raised here by Joyner offer compelling reading. You'll have to be an ESPN insider to read the whole piece, but here's a summary below:

"If the game tape reviews showed both an upside and a downside in terms of Clausen's arm, they were perfectly clear about his ability to read a defense. He made only four bad decisions in 224 passes (a bad decision being defined as when the quarterback makes a mistake with the ball that leads to either a turnover or a near turnover). That equates to a 1.7 percent bad-decision rate, which is a mark that would usually rank among the top 10-15 quarterbacks if it were accomplished at the NFL level, so Clausen gets high marks here.

"Drew Brees and Philip Rivers have proven that the ability to read a defense is much more important than possessing a cannon for an arm. Clausen has displayed superb ability in that area, and when that is added to his more than adequate skill in placing accurate throws downfield, it equals a TFS seal of approval."
- K.C. Joyner, Draft Lab

Accuracy conquers all. You can have the best arm in the business, you can be physically superior - but without accuracy you will be limited in the NFL. If Joyner is correct about Clausen - and I've argued differently in the past - then he simply has to warrant consideration for Seattle if he's there with the sixth overall pick.


Matthew Baldwin said...

I'm pro-Clausen at 6 if available.

This is a QB league and if PC agrees with guys like Joyner, we need to pull the trigger on Clausen.

Walter Football had a good piece on Clausen comparing his stats to other college juniors in a pro-system (Eli, Peyton, Rivers, Roethlisberger, Ryan and Stafford) and Clausen finished 1st in 5 of 6 catergories (2nd in the other).

If we get a QB now, hopefully he sits for a year, learns under Hass and give us time to repair the o-line and get some weapons.

The longer we wait to find a Hass successor, the more likely we'll have to end up starting him as a rookie; disasterous for development (IMO).

Rob Staton said...

I've been one of Clausen's critics. But I also have to admit there are major positives to his game. If the Seahawks believe he can make the offense tick - you absolutely have to consider him at #6. Teams with bad quarterback play don't consistently make the post season. Matt Hasselbeck will start in 2010. Beyond then? We don't know - he'd have to sign a new contract. You have to start planning as soon as possible or you run the risk of starting a rookie. It's not about drafting any quarterback, but if the franchise believe Clausen can be a good quarterback - if not necessarily elite - they have to really take a long look at the Notre Dame QB.

Seth H. said...

One of your points against Clausen was he was throwing off his back foot. He also had a torn ligament in his foot. Do you think that would have an impact on his arm strength/velocity/accuracy?

I think Clausen is the safest pick in this QB class, if that makes sense. But I also hear he's kinda egotistical and a d-bag. Whoever we get, I hope they're successful.

CLanterman said...

While I like the idea of Clausen at #6, I think you're selling Brees a bit short. http://www.nola.com/saints/index.ssf/2010/02/drew_brees_the_athlete_deserve.html
Here's an article on Brees, and it points out that Brees is quite the athlete, beating Andy Roddick in Tennis in Junior High, competing in 3 sports in high school, as well as being a scratch golfer currently. Accuracy and Arm Strength are great, but I think decision making is the #1 tool (though obviously all three are necessary), though I think most great QBs have that.

Donald Duck said...

I think that if Jimmy Clausen or Sam Bradford are available at #6, Seattle should draft a QB. After these two, the quality of the QBs decline greatly.

Rob, do you think Seattle would take Sam Bradford if he available and healthy?

ChavaC said...

My only reservation about Clausen is his attitude/effect. Hopefully he interviews well and everything I've heard ends up being overblown.


I've said this before, but ever since Clausen showed up for his signing day press conference, I've disliked the kid. He pulled up to the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Ind., in a stretch Hummer with an entourage, surrounded by a police escort. I realize he was only 18, but what a douche. It speaks volumes about what this kid has going on in his head. Hopefully, he's been humbled by Notre Dame's struggles in the last few years. We'll see.

Michael said...

Please God, all I want for Christmas is Clausen in Seahawk blue!

Boom or bust... I'm all in for a player that changes a franchise.

Michael said...

Thank God no one knew how large Matt Hasselbeck's ego was when we brought him to Seattle, or you would have crucified him... oh wait, we did... and we crucified him (Dilfer!).

Kerry Collins had a big ego, as does Ben Rothlisberger. Super Bowl, great maturity over time. Nice combo.

I did lots of stupid crap at 18; limited only by my lack of funds.

Claussen's antics happened 4 years ago. I am sure glad no one judges me on what happeed 4 years ago.

I leave you with one name associated in the same manner:

Randy Moss.

Rob Staton said...

Donald Duck - the only thing that I keep thinking about when I see Bradford-to-Seattle is.. Pete Carroll did his upmost to avoid the spread offense at USC and stuck to a pro-style all the way through. Upon his return to the NFL - does he invest any future success personally and for this franchise in the poster boy for the spread offense? I'm not too sure. It depends how they feel Bradford can adapt.

Regarding Clausen - more offensive about his signing day wasn't so much the stretch, the entourage or the police escort - it was that haricut. He's had some bad ones (j/k).

Anonymous said...

Being able to read the defense doesn't' mean that you are able to make that accurate pass to make it happen.
Drew Brees has an ability to throw the ball to his teammate even though he may be double-teamed.

However, I wouldn't mind Jimmy at 2nd pick of our 1st round.

Anonymous said...

I think Clausen will go to the Rams. What is going on with this kid is that 1) he is simply not liked on the internet or in the sports talk world because of those antics four years ago; 2) he was on a team that did not win consistently; and 3) that team was ND.

If you can get past those three things (which most people on the internet can't seem to) then you are left with easily the best quarterback in college football. The stats and tape don't lie. It was simply never Clausen's fault that ND lost a game. Their defense was giving up 30 points per game. He had 5 TD passes and 0 picks in his last game against Stanford and they still manage to lose because Gerhardt runs for 500 on their D. That summed up their entire season.

Away from Clausen, you have to be worried about the durability and pro-pedigree of a Bradford. When you watch the tape you really start to wonder if guys like Bradford (or obviously Tebow) are really that good or were they just on great teams. You saw what happened to Bradford this year when all of the sudden he wasn't on an offense that could score 65 points per game. You also saw what happened to Tebow and McCoy in tehir last regular season games when their teams were down in the the fourth quarter. Those things worry me about Bradford especially because lets face it high draft picks are for bad teams in the NFL.

Kip Earlywine said...

I'll admit it, I was a Dilfer chanter. But back then, I got my Seahawks fix from NFL Primetime living in Colorado. Sports blogs were really just emerging. I probably know 10 times more about football/Seahawks now than I did then.

I'm really starting to come around on Clausen. The more I learn about him, the more he reminds me of Philip Rivers. I'm really looking forward to doing his POTD in a few days.

As far as taking a QB at #14 instead of #6- boy that would be an interesting gamble. Depending on how you feel about Bryant/Morgan/Haden/etc, that could be a gamble worth taking.

c-hawker said...

I agree on Clausen. I think he would be a great selection at #6. However I believe the Rams will select him.
I like Bradford although I have grave concerns about his shoulder and being able to stay healthy. We'll see what Washington does at #4. If they don't select him, I would be very weary, after all their team physician did the surgery on his shoulder. I believe
they need an OT more than they need a QB though. I don't think Shanahan would hesitate in selecting [his man] if he were healthy.
LaFevre is a big time sleeper in this draft. In my opinion he'll be every bit as good as Clausen. Very quick decision maker, accurate, throw's on the run well, makes few mistakes,knows how to get the ball into the endzone.In a major jump in compition, played well at the Senior Bowl.
SORRY, got carried away.

Matthew said...

If we want to take a QB, passing on one at #6 to get him at #14 is a terrible mistake. Even a cursory glance at the teams drafting from #7 to #13 would reveal as much:


That is practically the entire list of teams in the NFL that are hungry for an upgrade at the QB position, missing only the Cardinals, Panthers, and maybe Titans. If we see a guy at #6 who we think can be our franchise QB for the next decade, waiting around to see if we can grab him at #14 so we can save a few bucks is an epically bad decision.

The only real question about picking Clausen at #6 is not if we should pick him there should he fall, but if we should trade up to #3 to steal him from the Redskins should the Rams pass on him.

myjackrebel said...

agreed that would a HUGE mistake nitpicking about picking a qb at 14 instead of 6.

Savage said...

If Claussen is worth the 14th pick, then he is worth the 6th. If you are sold on a QB enough to take him in the 1st round, it really doesn't matter how high you take him. The QB posistion is the most important on the field and you shouldn't risk it to save a few bucks if your guy is there at #6. Its kinda like putting the transition tag on aplyer instead of the franchise. Why risk losing the guy for a few bucks.

Rob Staton said...

The Seahawks won't take Clausen at #14. You take him at #6 or not at all - if they think he's a potential franchise quarterback you don't chance that he'll survive another eight picks. The importance of the position dictates that. If they link him and he's there at #6, he's a Seahawk. If they pass at #6, they'll pass at #14 too.

Kip Earlywine said...

What if the front office believes in Clausen/Bradford but also believes they can afford to wait a year and build up the rest of the team first?

I'm not saying I agree with that line of thinking, but if they feel that way, I could see them taking a chance on perhaps getting a QB a little later.

Personally, I'd take a QB at #6 without blinking if I believed he was a franchise QB. The future is uncertain. We don't know where the Seahawks will be drafting next year or what the realistic options will be (I think Locker is exceedingly unlikely).