As I was taking in a dollar beer South Bend Silverhawks game last night, cell phones, iPhones, blackberrys, and blueberrys all around me routinely buzzed about every 15 minutes with text updates or ESPN draft apps. My geographically diverse set of friends were interested in the future of their respective teams, but the story that everyone was more collectively interested in was the future of former Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen.
After seeing Clausen slip out of the top 10, and soon out of the top 20, I was one of many people who were very surprised to not hear his name called at all on the first day. In fact, I completely discredited one CBS analysts' mock draft yesterday because he unrealistically had Clausen falling to Minnesota at number 30.However, don't expect Jimmy to wait long after 6:00 today. Teams such as Minnesota (34), Tampa Bay (35), and Cleveland (38) all need help at quarterback in the immediate future. Charlie Weis and the Kansas City Chiefs are a possible destination at pick 36, and don't discount the possibility of Oakland (39) or Buffalo (41) trading up to get in the mix.
Regardless of who ends up drafting Clausen, they will be getting a great value pick. The players drafted towards the bottom of the top 10 in last year's draft were hauling in about $20 million in guaranteed money whereas the no. 32 overall pick only inked $6.1 million. Plummeting out of the first round undoubtedly cost Jimmy some G's, but whichever team picks him up will be happy to do so while investing considerably less in him than Bradford, and hopefully the events of last night can serve as further motivation for Clausen as he starts his career in the NFL.