The wait is over for Jimmy Clausen. The Carolina Panthers have selected Clausen at pick 48, ending the seemingly eternal wait for Clausen, who expected to go in the top fifteen picks of the draft.
Clausen lands with an NFL team that released its veteran starting quarterback in Jake Delhomme, and now battles Matt Moore for the starting quarterback job. Moore, another Southern California native, played his college football at Oregon State before signing as an undrafted free agent by the Dallas Cowboys in 2007. Moore was waived out of training camp and landed in Carolina, where he backed up Delhomme and David Carr the past three seasons. He won four of his five starts last season, putting up respectable numbers during his first extended playing time.
If you take away the disappointment of falling into the middle of the second round, this is an excellent place for Clausen to play quarterback. He’ll be supported by an excellent running attack, have a wide receiver in Steve Smith that can keep defenses honest as well as go deep, and has an offensive line that’s far from suspect. He’ll also have to beat out only Moore for the starting job, a journeyman quarterback in every sense of the word.
A few writers that have covered Clausen since he arrived in South Bend, John Walters at AOL FanHouse and Tim Prister of Irish Illustrated both took their shots explaining why Jimmy slid down the draft boards.
Both cited the image/attitude/arrogance issues that have plagued Clausen since he stepped foot in South Bend and brought up a few other interesting theories as well, including the role of Charlie Weis and the Clausen family entourage. But the best tidbit from the Jimmy Clausen draft experience comes courtesy of the Chicago Tribune’s Chris Hine, who spent four years writing for the Notre Dame Observer.
Thursday was the four-year anniversary of Jimmy Clausen and his
blinged-out news conference at the College Football Hall of Fame to
announce his oral commitment to the Irish. It was a day that fed into a
perception of immaturity and arrogance that stayed with Clausen during
his years in South Bend and clung to him as he went through the grind of
the NFL draft.
And that reputation may have contributed to what happened on Thursday
night, when Clausen was not picked in the first round of the draft.
Funny to think that one mistake four years ago to the day, a press conference that Charlie Weis merely shrugged off, simply calling it a “dog and pony show,” would haunt Clausen to this day. It’s also the perfect microcosm of the Weis era:
Brash with some undisputed offensive excellence, but ultimately short on final results.