Inside The Bills

Why Kiper is sold on Clausen

Posted by Chris Brown on April 16, 2010 – 11:05 am

While just about every so called draft expert changes and alters their opinion on players and where they have them coming off the board in the draft, there’s one prospect that ESPN’s Mel Kiper hasn’t wavered on. Notre Dame’s Jimmy Clausen.

“You’ve got to commit to something and I’ve just been a Jimmy Clausen supporter because of nothing else than how he performed. Everybody tries to pick apart why you like a particular player over another. It had nothing to do with anything for me than how he performed and how he played.

“He was playing through the torn ligaments in his toe. I talked to him before a game last season when he had flu-like symptoms and played well and nobody knew about it. Jimmy Clausen is a true competitor and I would take him very high in the first round. People that don’t like him can’t give me a reason why they don’t. They complain that he’s only 6’1″, well he’s 6’2 1/2”. The maturity issues they talk about maybe were there when he came out of high school, but they’re not there and haven’t been there of late. He galvanized that team and was a great leader. His arm strength is not Elway-like, but it’s good enough.

“Everything that Bradford didn’t do in terms of NFL condition he did. Taking snaps under center, commanding the huddle, not playing on a perfect team where their defense couldn’t stop anybody and he had to match points with the opponent. From Sept. 19th on he played with an injury that would have sent most guys to surgery to have it corrected or to the sidelines or cause a very ineffective performance. He only threw four interceptions.

“Four times this year he brought his team back on the final drive to win a game, and almost a fifth time. That’s impressive. For me it wasn’t like I don’t like Sam Bradford, but I gave a slight edge to Jimmy. I have Jimmy fourth on the big board and Sam Bradford fifth.”

It is tough to deny that Clausen did make plays when his team needed it most, and having played in a pro-style offense he’ll be ready for the NFL game. And with a team that had no defense, you’ve got to respect his ability to match teams point for point in a lot of games. If the maturity issue is gone it’s hard to really have many negatives on him. I still don’t think he’s a lock for the top 10, and if he gets past 10 he could really start to slide.

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