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Player: Jimmy Clausen
College: Notre Dame
Projected Draft Position: Top 15
Quarterbacks are always the focus of the draft, regardless of whether or not top talent is present. This year, there is an influx of QB talent; like many years previous, there are a lot of teams near the top of the first round that want them. Sam Bradford has largely been considered the top QB prospect ever since a dramatic improvement to his body structure, but previously it was all Jimmy Clausen, all the time.
Clausen was widely regarded as the best NFL ready QB at mid-season during 2009, with Jake Locker, Colt McCoy and Bradford all in the mix as well. Because he played in a pro-style offense, had vast improvement from his sophomore season to his junior, and had the body to do it, scouts were all over him. Once Locker decided to go back for his senior year and both Bradford and McCoy went down with injuries, Clausen stood alone at the top. After reviewing his stats for 2009, it’s quite easy to see why he is favored to go at the top of the first round, passing with a near 70% completion rate, 28 touchdowns and a miniscule 4 interceptions.
Of the teams drafting in the top ten, there are many likely landing spots for Clausen (though defensive and offensive line talent may prevent teams from taking a chance on a QB with other hugely talented prospects available). Seattle has a shot at taking him to play behind an aging Matt Hasselbeck who has struggled as of late. Despite their need, Seattle needs RB help more than anything, which could put the Bills on the clock with Clausen on the board at ninth. Buffalo may have Trent Edwards, but Edwards isn’t the kind of player you build your team around. Therefore, adding a player like Clausen could solve a lot of problems. Lastly, there is no way Clausen falls past Minnesota at 30, as Brett Favre is only one year away from retirement in a best case scenario. In all likelihood, I count ten picks out of 32 where Clausen can fit, and one team (Seattle) has two shots at him if necessary. Even Arizona at 26 has a need with Warner on the way out.
Because Clausen is a top prospect and a QB, collectors will have no problem chasing him throughout the card year. QB’s naturally command higher value, and he will not be an exception to this rule. Factoring in that he attended Notre Dame adds another level to his collectability thanks to the number of fans the school has. He will also have the possibility of dropping further into the first round and allowing for a better team to select him, thus adding more potential to a typically rough development in the league. If he is drafted by a team like Arizona or Minnesota, expect a situation similar to Joe Flacco, who has shown amazing superstar potential due to being on a great team.
Upper Deck will make players like Jimmy Clausen a focus in the beginning of 2010, along with many of the other elite prospects for upcoming releases. 2010 Sweet Spot Football will be back with a new style and a new face, but will still feature elements collectors have loved for years. It will feature players like Clausen, Sam Bradford, Ndamukong Suh, Colt McCoy and others, all on hard signed custom helmet cards. Sweet Spot will also debut players like Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees in his Purdue garb, and Hall of Famer Dan Marino in his Pittsburgh uniform for all the collectors out there who follow their favorite schools.
Check back here at UpperDeckBlog.com for more draft profiles leading up to the 2010 NFL Draft on April 22!
Adam Gellman runs the collecting blog Sports Cards Uncensored, and has been a collector of all things sports for over 15 years. To see more of his work, visit www.sportscardsuncensored.com (warning: strong language!).