Jimmy Clausen’s draft slide has finally come to an end. The Carolina Panthers, making their first pick of the draft, secured potentially one of the biggest steals of the draft by selecting Clausen 48th overall midway through the 2nd round.
Clausen, projected by many as a top 10 pick ended up sliding farther than even Todd McShay could have imagined. In the end, 47 other players heard their names called before Clausen including two players from Rutgers, two from South Florida, one from Fresno State, and one from Idaho.
The one bright side for Clausen is that he landed in a pretty good situation. The Panthers have a very solid offensive line and have one of the best running games int he NFL. They also are short on quarterbacks with former undrafted free agent Matt Moore penciled in as their starting QB for 2010. Throw in one of the best receivers in the NFL in Steve Smith and it’s a pretty solid situation for Clausen to start his NFL career. Later in the draft the Panthers also added another weapon to their offense in LSU wide receiver Brandon LaFell.
The negative side of the situation in Carolina, however, is that John Fox is on a short leash and might be sitting squarely on one of the hottest seats in the NFL. After boasting the second best record in the NFC in 2008, the Panthers fell apart in their playoff loss to Arizona before drifting back down to mediocrity in 2009.
The Panthers got rid of long time starting quarterback Jake Delhomme this off-season and had planned on rolling the dice with Moore in 2010, but when Clausen was gift wrapped for them, they just couldn’t pass up the chance to draft a potential franchise signal caller like Clausen.
Hopefully Clausen learns from Brady Quinn’s draft fall and makes it to training camp on time. Quinn’s agent held out for an incentive laden contract that ended up not helping Quinn at all. If Clausen is in camp on time, he’ll have a great chance to win the starting job. With DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart in the backfield, he likely won’t be asked to do too much from the get go either.