Now that the Washington Redskins have traded for Donovan McNabb, the Seattle Seahawks are the next, possible landing spot for Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen.
Clausen will have his pro day at Notre Dame on Friday.
However, with the Seahawks making a trade with San Diego for Charlie Whitehurst, they seem to have their quarterback of the future.
Or maybe not?
During Whitehurst’s introductory press conference last month, general manager John Schneider would not rule out the possibility of Seattle drafting a quarterback in the first round.
“Absolutely not,” Schneider said. “We’re going to compete at every position. And you guys are going to get tired of hearing this, but we’re going to be going down every road. Even if there’s five of them standing there, we’re going to be evaluating all of them.”
However, ESPN senior draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. thinks Seattle will pass on Clausen. In a conference call on Wednesday Kiper said that he’s heard from multiple sources that the Seahawks will not take Clausen in the first round.
Kiper believes that Clausen is the best QB prospect in the draft, ahead of Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford, and has him going to the Oakland Raiders at No. 8.
Rob Rang, senior draft analyst with NFLDraftScout.com, agrees with Kiper, saying it’s unlikely that Seattle would take Clausen at No. 6
“I would be stunned honestly if they took Jimmy Clausen at the six spot,” Rang said. “If he were to slide to No. 14, and the team thought he was a legitimate, franchise quarterback, then it makes a good deal of sense just because with Charlie Whitehurst – as talented as he is – he is still an unproven prospect. And so the fact that Jimmy Clausen does have more recent game experience, then in some ways he ‘s a surer prospect. He comes from a pro-style offense, so that makes some sense.”
Gil Brandt, a longtime, personnel guy for the Dallas Cowboys who is now a personnel guru for the NFL Network, believes that Clausen could still be in play for Seattle. I asked Brandt his thoughts on what direction the Seahawks may be leaning at No. 6 and 14, and here is what he had to say.
“I wouldn't be a bit surprised if they took a quarterback,” Brandt said. “It would not surprise me at all, because you're not going to be in a position to take a quarterback very often. You know, unless you want to wait until next year and get that quarterback from Prosser, Washington (Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore), then you're in good shape.”
Brandt also said he was one of several folks in the national media surprised by Seattle trading for Whitehurst.
“If you look at the Clemson quarterback as a junior, he was pretty good,” Brandt said during a conference call on Wednesday. “As a senior, he wasn't very good. You know, so I think Pete saw something in him or John Schneider or somebody in that organization saw something in him that they liked is what it amounted to.”
“I jokingly told him the other day at practice, I said obviously you like Whitehurst better than I do,” Brandt went on. “And I said, the one redeeming quality, though, is maybe your owner is going to start a volleyball league and he (Whithurst) has a sister that is a great volleyball player, and it's a package deal.”
Brandt said he talked with Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll during Sam Bradford’s pro day at Oklahoma and the University of Texas pro day, and he gets a sense that Seattle will not give up a first round pick for Denver restricted free agent Brandon Marshall. Brandt believes offensive tackle will be Seattle’s priority with the team’s No. 6 overall pick.
Brandt also said Carroll coming from USC should help him in the draft evaluation process much in the same way Jimmy Johnson benefited after joining Dallas from the University of Miami.
And Brandt does not buy into the notion that Clasuen does not have leadership skills, and believes he will be successful at the next level. “Last year he threw four interceptions, really three interceptions because one was a quick screen that hit the lineman in the back and intercepted. But I think he has a good arm. I think he has good athletic ability, and I think he has really good leadership qualities about him, also.
“I think the one thing about him is when you complete 68 percent of your passes like he did last year, that tells you something about a player. You know, he's got a little bit of a swagger about him, and I think that's good. Now, to some people, I think he rubs them a little bit wrong. But I think I'd love to have Jimmy Clausen on my football team.”