Your 2010 Draft-Day Loser: Jimmy Clausen
On draft day Sam Bradford went No. 1 as expected. Clausen has had one of the worst draft days in recent memories. The Browns, Raiders and Bills had all been projected as possible landing spots for the Notre Dame quarterback. But when all three went in other directions, Clausen's slide began.
The 49ers could have decided to take him, but they took a pair of offensive linemen instead. The Jaguars decided that another year of David Garrard was preferable. At that point the draft board began to set up very poorly for Clausen with a run of teams who were unlikely to take a quarterback.
But the truly crushing blow for Clausen had to be when the Broncos traded back up into the first round to take a quarterback, then decided to take Tim Tebow instead of Clausen. It was considered possible that Clausen might fall out of the Top 10, but it was inconceivable coming into the draft that Clausen wouldn't be the second quarterback drafted.
The last quarterback to plummet like Clausen was another Notre Dame QB--Brady Quinn was projected as a likely top 10 pick in 2007. He instead fell to No. 22 and the Browns. That slide cost him millions of dollars that he will never recoup. Clausen is looking at a similar hit to the wallet. Last year Mark Sanchez signed a five-year, $60 million contract with $25 million guaranteed as the fifth pick in the draft. Clausen is now looking at somewhere around $7 million or less in guaranteed money as a late first-round pick at best. With three picks left in the first round, he could become a second rounder.
It is worth noting that for two months we've heard Mel Kiper and Todd McShay argue about Jimmy Clausen on ESPN TV, ESPN Radio and ESPN's NFL Draft Podcast. Kiper is a Clausen believer while McShay has repeatedly said he's not sold on Clausen. But in the days leading up to the draft the two started to go out on limbs. McShay promised that Clausen would not go in the top 10 while Kiper was insistent that Clausen would go in the first 10 picks. Quite clearly you have to score this round to ESPN's newest draft expert.