School: Notre Dame
Projected 40-Time: 4.70
Star Rating: Grade: 97
Draft Projection: 1st Round
Star rating is based on a prospects standing (as of March 5th) in the 2010 Scout.com Draft Rankings. A prospects grade is measured on the following scale:
85-100 = 1st - 2nd
_70-84 = 3rd - 4th
_55-69 = 5th - 6th
_40-54 = 7th Round - UDFA
Strengths: Clausen is an athletic passer who possesses the physical skills and mental capacity to excel at the next level. He has above average arm strength and has the ability to make all of the throws necessary to be an effective starter. He’s played three years in a pro style offense and has progressed each year. He sets up quickly in the pocket, displays great balance and footwork, shows poise under the pressure, steps up nicely and always keeps his eyes downfield looking to make a play. He has a calm disposition about himself in the pocket, shows patience and is able buy time with his feet as receivers work to get open. He goes through his progressions well, doesn’t lock onto one receiver and naturally looks off the safety. He’s an intelligent signal caller and doesn’t make mental errors; he will throw the ball away rather than create a turnover. He has great field sense and times his short and intermediate throws extremely well - delivering an accurate, catchable ball to his receivers immediately out of their breaks. He’s a fiery competitor who plays with great passion and shows toughness.
Weaknesses: Even though he’s accurate on mid-range passes, he lacks overall placement and touch on deep throws. He doesn’t feel backside pressure consistently, and when rushed up the middle, he will get himself in trouble by throwing off of his back foot. He’s an emotional individual who has some maturity concerns and can be brash towards his coaches and teammates.Steuber Says: A three-year starter at Notre Dame, Clausen ascended in 2009 and put together a year where he completed 68-percent of his passes for 3,722 yards, 28 touchdowns and just four interceptions. After that breakout campaign, he’s now being mentioned as a possible candidate to be the No. 1 overall draft pick this April. Where Clausen ends up in the draft will be determined by the health of the other top quarterback prospect, Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford (shoulder surgery), and how he recovers from his own surgery (toe). Just like Bradford, Clausen won’t workout for scouts at the Scouting Combine, but he will be ready to participate in his Pro Day in April. The St. Louis Rams are in need of a quarterback, and it’s possible that they will bypass the consensus No. 1 prospect in the draft, Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, in favor of Clausen or Bradford. At this time, I still favor Bradford over Clausen, but like I mentioned, if Bradford doesn’t check out medically during his Pro Day and Clausen shines during his showcase, Clausen will move to the top of the quarterback crop. If the Rams don’t take Clausen with the first pick, the next possible suitor will be the Washington Redskins at No. 4. Other potential destinations for Clausen are Seattle at No. 6, Cleveland at No. 7, Buffalo at No. 9 and Jacksonville at No. 10. Either way, Clausen will be a top 10 draft pick.
A member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America, Chris Steuber has provided his analysis of the NFL and NFL Draft prospects on the web and on the radio since 1999. Steuber’s features are published across the Scout.com network and on FoxSports.com. If you wish to contact Chris Steuber, email him at: email@example.com. You can also now follow Chris Steuber on Twitter.