Ok, with Bulger's tibia fracture barely days old and the (likely) end of his career with the St. Louis Rams, it's time to start talking QB of the future. Not that we haven't been talking about that since the last draft, but such chatter earned a new lease on life with Bulger's injury.
Carneros got it started yesterday with this post, and I'm going to feed the fire some more today. First, a quick review of the Rams QB options moving forward. Boil it down to the essence, and the Rams have three options at QB for 2010: 1) sign a free agent (personally, I like Jason Campbell if they go this route), 2) draft a QB or 3) keep one of the in-house options, Bulger (if he can return) or Boller. Note that 2 and 3 are not mutually exclusive.
And now, I submit for your consideration Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen.
With Sam Bradford on the mend, Clausen is racing to the top of draft boards, at least among QBs. I think he'll be the first QB taken in the draft. I guess we'll have to see how much fan damage he incurred on a punch to the face this weekend. Will the Rams take him? Should the Rams take him?
Let's start with the stats, more specifically, the stats that can tell us something about success at the next level. According to the Lewin Career Forecast, the two most important things to look at when trying to gauge NFL success are a QBs career starts and completion percentage.
Clausen's a junior this year. He took over starting duties early in his freshman year, true freshman year, and ended up starting in nine games, and started every game in two seasons since then. For his college career, he has a 62.2 percent completion rate, a stunning 67.3 percent this season.
His TD to INT ratio of 23-4 speaks to his accuracy as a QB.
One thing I like about him is his ability to find receivers and create plays where others cannot. That's something the Rams have really been missing. Yes, St. Louis lacks the established talent at WR, but after watching this season of west coast offense move forward in fits and starts, it would be wise to have a QB that could find receivers or even go through the reads.
I'm not qualified to judge much about college players, especially the "intangibles". Talk of Clausen's acumen for the game, ability to read defenses and assuredness resonate for a long suffering fan of this team. Here are a couple of scouting reports from FFToolbox and Walter Football.
As a junior, there's still no gaurantee that Clausen will declare for the draft this year. I'd be pretty shocked if he didn't given the fact that his stock is skyrocketing. In fact, with Bradford unlikely to be ready for the Combine, I wonder if Clausen does separate himself from the rest of the QB class enough to make teams seriously consider a trade up to into the top five. Those kind of moves are getting rarer lately, but anything can happen once the hype machine kicks into high gear.
Oh, and he plays in a West Coast style offense at Notre Dame. He fits the bill for the Rams in that sense and seems to pass Spagnuolo's four pillars test.
Is this an official endorsement? No, I'm not ready to commit to that just yet. I still think Clausen is a guy to keep your eye on if the Rams do opt for a QB with their top pick in the draft.