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Scouting the Redskins 2010 NFL Draft Options: Jimmy Clausen, QB Notre Dame

Jimmy Clausen was the highest rated QB coming out of High School in California in 2007. The brother of former Tennessee QB Casey Clausen, Jimmy rose to stardom at the National Power Oaks Christian High School. He never lost a game in his high school prep career posting an astounding 42-0 record. In the 2006 season, he led his team to the California division 3 state championship, while throwing for 49 TD passes. For his prep career he threw for 10,677 yards, and a state record 146 TD’s, while playing against some of the top talent in the country.

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He attended the university of Notre Dame, where he won the starting QB job as a True Freshmen in 2007. His career at ND was marked by an under-achieving O-line, and a defense that couldn’t stop a Pop-Warner team, yet Clausen put up good numbers during his 3 years as a starter. His most productive year came in 2009 when he posted 3722 passing yards, and 28 TD’s vs. only 4 ints. His passer rating was 161.43 up from the 132.49 he posted as a sophomore. His completion percentage also rose every year, going from 56.3 as a true freshmen to 60.9 during his sophomore year, to a very impressive 68.0 in his junior campaign.

Clausen’s career at ND was full of up’s and down’s. The national media had high hopes for the team entering the 2009 season, yet they disappointed, finishing with a 6-6 record. The 6 losses however were from a combined total of 28 points. This stat shows that ND was in contention in every game they played in. If it wasn’t for a poor defense, they very well could have been a BCS caliber team. Clausen was also forced to play nearly half the 2009 season without starting Junior WR Michael Floyd, who was sidelined with an injury half-way through the season, yet he still put up good numbers in Weis’ system.

Clausen has ideal NFL measurements, standing at 6-3 223 lbs, and possesses above average arm strength, especially on the deep out and dig route. He has good pocket awareness, and can adapt his very quick release to fit the ball around and through taller defenders. He does however need to work on his deep ball. He showed good toughness and durability as is evident in his performance amidst 80 career sacks given up by his offensive line. His injuries have been minor throughout his college career, giving little concern to NFL scouts. He has some questions about his maturity and leadership skills, but his ability to master Weis’ complex offense, and his under-center experience should answer all his critics’ doubts about his propensity to learn an NFL offense.

The question is, would Jimmy be an up-grade to what we already have in Jason Campbell? Is he really worth the 4th overall pick in the 2010 NFL draft? Is he the type of player the Redskins believe they can build a franchise around? Would we be better served to wait a year to see if Campbell can thrive in Shanahan’s system?

There are so many question marks around this team, and adding Jimmy Clausen to the mix could add yet another. Is this a challenge the Redskins are willing to take on? We should all know the answer on April 22nd.