Why all the Clausen bashing?

MIKE GANTER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:06 AM ET

Depending on who you are listening to, talking to, or reading, Jimmy Clausen’s slide down the NFL draft board to the Carolina Panthers at No. 48 was the result of his big toe, his big mouth, his big ego, or his small hands.

Oh and there’s that matter of a small score on a Wonderlic Test to consider.

All this despite almost universal agreement that Clausen, among all the quarterbacks drafted and that includes Sam Bradford, the No. 1 overall pick now a member of the St. Louis Rams, is the most NFL-ready of the lot.

Clausen is apparently just one of those love-him-or-hate him guys. There is no in between.

Spoiled

You either think he’s going to prove all the naysayers wrong or you’re one of the naysayers and there’s no way this spoiled and conceited California brat will ever make it in the NFL.

There are those who will tell you that the Panthers got the steal of the draft in Clausen who even days before the first pick was made was being touted as a sure-fire top-10 pick.

A ready-made NFL quarterback straight out of the Charlie Weis program at Notre Dame, Clausen wowed NFL scouts at his pro day with his accuracy and his improved velocity. His arm strength was still considered average at best, but he still came out further ahead than he was before the workout.

Having played for Weis in that pro-style offence adopted by the Irish also gives him an immediate leg up on just about every big-named quarterback entering the NFL next season.

So why the drop?

Well, near as we can tell, this was a year — at least where quarterbacks were concerned — where make-up superseded ability. Where style won out over substance.

Where Tim Tebow and his recently reconfigured throwing technique trump Clausen and his NFL-ready arm.

Tebow, if you read even a little, is the next best thing to the second coming of Christ. He’s a leader, a winner, and an all-around good guy. Even the father with the shotgun behind the front door would allow his one and only daughter to date Tim Tebow.

Clausen meanwhile is the guy who threw his wide receiver “under the bus” when Jon Gruden, on the ESPN Sportscenter special Gruden’s QB camp, wanted to know what happened on an interception in a game against North Carolina.

As the pair watch the video of the pick, Clausen suggested he signalled one thing to his receiver but his receiver did another making for an easy pick. Clausen is clearly heard blaming it on miscommunication but all anyone seems to have taken from the exchange was Clausen trying to point the finger elsewhere.

Entourage

Gruden deserves some of the blame for that, but the case can be made that Clausen’s past contributed to the interpretation of the exchange.

Clausen, of course, is the guy who had a 16-person entourage ferried to the Irish’s annual Blue and Gold spring scrimmage in a stretch hummer on the day he officially declared to Notre Dame, earning no small measure of rebuke from the public — not to mention the national media.

His boast of the four national titles that would follow his arrival that same day only added to the growing distaste he brought out in people.

But regarding his on-the-field attributes, his critics can only nit-pick at best. His nine-inch hand span tied for the smallest at the NFL combine. That, his critics suggest, makes him a poor choice for weather-affected teams such as Buffalo and Cleveland, nevermind the fact that he played his entire collegiate career in South Bend, Indiana.

The toe issue came up again in earnest after he failed to go in the first round with sources claiming it was the surgery on the toe and not his questionable leadership or own self-importance that was dragging him down.

Apparently the stiffness of the toe raised eyebrows during his physical exam at the NFL scouting combine.

The surgery was to repair two torn ligaments and was judged a success. The fact that Clausen performed solidly in his Pro Day workout was irrelevant for those spouting this excuse.

Even a wonderlic score of 23 out of a possible 50 got some run as Clausen dropped. Of course, no one espousing to this theory bothered to bring up the fact that Dan Marino had 13 on the same score when he came out or that Tebow was even lower at 22.

All of the Clausen bashing both before and after the draft seems more concerned with his intangibles, which are important, but are they more important that what he can do with a football in his hand?

Tebow over Clausen?

Time will definitely tell.


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