By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Friday, April 9th, 2010 at 7:07 pm in Oakland Raiders.
Third in a series analyzing potential draft picks for the Raiders, scheduled to select at No. 8 in the first round on April 22:
Height, weight: 6-3. 222 pounds
College: Notre Dame
Why it’s Clausen: Because Al Davis wants go to the polar opposite of the laid-back JaMarcus Russell and bring in someone with some fire. Make no mistake _ if Clausen is drafted at No. 8 money, then Russell is being paid his final $3 million and is being sent on his way. Tom Cable said it was his call to remove Russell from the lineup last year, and he is the coach. But chances are it didn’t happen until Davis said, “You want to change quarterbacks? Be my guest.” As much as the organization won’t admit it, they miss the Rich Gannon effect _ and Clausen brings some Gannon-esque qualities to the table. He can run a pro style offense. He’s not afraid of ruffling some feathers. I had Clausen pegged as a pouter/complainer along the lines of Jay Cutler, but am coming around to the idea that he may be more like the Chargers’ Philip Rivers _ someone who his teammates love and opponents hate.
Why it’s not Clausen: Davis wants to give Russell once last chance, as suggested by AOL Fanhouse writer Thomas George today, and there’s no way he’s bringing in a big-money quarterback if he thinks Russell could still be the guy. Another factor _ the Raiders are so awful at drafting and developing their own quarterbacks (anyone remember Ken Stabler back in the late 1960s) they’d be better off going for help on the offensive or defensive lines. There’s some logic there _ the truly best Raiders teams have dominated at the point of attack and the recent vintages have been unable to protect the quarterback or run inside the 20s, while the defenses have been stampeded by teams stubborn with the run.
Quotable: “Some of the people that say those things (about my ability to be a leader) just don’t know me as a person. A lot of people don’t really know me as a person. Being at Notre Dame, the quarterback and the head coach get all the credit when things go right and get a lot of blame when things go wrong. It’s a tough situation being in a fishbowl at Notre Dame.”
Note: Clausen had his Pro Day workout today and estimated he is about 75 percent health and unable to execute some bootlegs and other throws. Not that the Pro Day is the be all and end all. It’s worth noting that Mel Kiper Jr. talked about how poor Peyton Manning’s Pro Day workout was following his senior year as he threw wobbly passes and short-hopped receivers. JaMarcus Russell? He drew comparisons with John Elway.