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Posted April 6, 2010

Teams Misevaluating Their Own Quarterbacks

After constantly thinking to myself about the Donovan McNabb trade yesterday, I tried to figure out where Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen will end up on Draft Day. There are several teams in the 2010 NFL Draft that should take Clausen, but they won't because they feel like they are set at the quarterback position with some relatively mediocre signal-callers.

Let's go over a few of the teams that I'm talking about - and I am eliminating franchises that have a lot of money invested in the position with a quarterback whom they feel is the franchise guy - most notably Matt Cassel in Kansas City.

Seattle is sitting at No. 6 and they swapped second-round picks with San Diego plus gained a 2011 third-round pick, which is almost the value of a high third-round pick according to the trade value chart in the Charlie Whitehurst trade. It seems like Seattle is sold that Whitehurst can be their franchise quarterback and I just don't necessarily believe Clausen is going to be in consideration for them at No. 6 overall.

If they take Clausen, then the value they spent on Whitehurst is pretty much a waste. If Seattle passes up on Clausen, then they are putting the future of their franchise into a clipboard holder from San Diego who didn't really do anything for his past team and is 28 years old. I think this would just be a really stupid move to pass up on Clausen - a quarterback who thrived in the West Coast offense and has the youth to really carry a franchise for 10 years.

If Cleveland passes up on Clausen at No. 7, then they really are convinced that either Jake Delhomme or another quarterback in the 2010 NFL Draft can carry their franchise (Colt McCoy or some other mediocre quarterback prospect). It's a big joke, but I think Cleveland will pass on Clausen. I hope I'm wrong because I think Clausen could do big things in Cleveland with Joe Thomas at left tackle, but if they pass up on Clausen then it's just pure stupidity on their part.

Buffalo has to come out of the 2010 NFL Draft with a quarterback. It is all about preference, but if they really believe Tim Tebow or Colt McCoy can win in this league then passing up on Clausen would be a boneheaded move.

Denver has to put their faith Brady Quinn, Kyle Orton and Tom Brandstater to pass up on Clausen, but I won't be shocked because it's Josh McDaniels.

If San Francisco passes up on Clausen, then they really believe Alex Smith is the franchise. He had a solid season in 2009, I'll give him that, but that's a massive risk to take because quarterbacks like Clausen just don't come around very often.

Oakland will likely pass up on Clausen for Bruce Gradkowski and Jamarcus Russell, and to draft Bruce Campbell - but I don't count the Raiders in my analysis since I don't feel like they belong in the same discussion as the other 31 teams because of Al Davis.

If Clausen falls into the 20s and Carolina doesn't make a move up for him, then they are very much sold on Matt Moore (we'll see).

So we have five teams here whom I feel like are really overrating their quarterback position on their team (Seattle, Cleveland, Buffalo, Denver and San Francisco).

I had a chat with a very good football friend yesterday, and we were discussing if Clausen would fall in the 2010 NFL Draft or not. I asked him why Aaron Rodgers fell in the 2005 NFL Draft (I felt it was because teams underrated Rodgers and misevaluted their quarterback position - I had already done the research). My friend said that in 2005, teams just didn't need a quarterback and they passed up on Rodgers.

Well, this is how I feel about the 2010 NFL Draft. I can see that teams need quarterbacks, but they don't think they need one. It was the same way back in 2005. I wanted to do some more research over the past few years when teams passed up on a very good quarterback in the first round and misevaluated their quarterback position by overrating how good their current starter was or falsely believing in the potential of a young quarterback who simply wasn't as good as this team thought.

Here is my research - teams that missed on quarterbacks when they felt they were in good standing at the position. If a team drafted a quarterback later on, then the round is noted. If cap space was an issue and it was somewhat understandable, then that is indicated as well:

2004 NFL Draft:

-Cleveland passed on Ben Roethlisberger for Kelly Holcomb and Jeff Garcia (drafted Kellen Winslow Jr.)

-Washington passed on Roethlisberger for Patrick Ramsey and Mark Brunell

2005 NFL Draft:

-Miami passed on Aaron Rodgers for Gus Frerotte

-Cleveland passed on Rodgers for Trent Dilfer and Charlie Frye (round 3)

-Chicago passed on Rodgers for Rex Grossman and Kyle Orton (round 4)

-Tampa Bay passed on Rodgers for Chris Simms and Brian Griese

-Tennessee passed on Rodgers for Steve McNair (32 years old)

-Detroit passed on Rodgers for Joey Harrington

-New Orleans passed on Rodgers for Aaron Brooks

-Kansas City passed up on Rodgers for Trent Green (35 years old)

-Houston passed on Rodgers for David Carr

-Oakland passed on Rodgers for Kerry Collins (32 years old) and Andrew Walter (round 3)

2006 NFL Draft:

-Oakland passed on Jay Cutler for Andrew Walter and Aaron Brooks (if they took Cutler, then they can pass on Jamarcus Russell for Calvin Johnson the next season - just saying)

-Buffalo passed on Jay Cutler for J.P. Losman

-Detroit passed on Jay Cutler for Jon Kitna (34 years old)

-Baltimore didn't trade up for Jay Cutler because of Steve McNair (33 years old) and Kyle Boller

-Cleveland didn't trade up for Jay Cutler because of Charlie Frye and Derek Anderson

-St. Louis didn't trade up for Jay Cutler after Marc Bulger's mediocre 2005 season

-Minnesota didn't trade up for Jay Cutler because of Brad Johnson (38 years old) and Tarvaris Jackson (2nd round)

2009 NFL Draft:

-St. Louis passed on Mark Sanchez for Marc Bulger + cap space

-Seattle passed on Sanchez for Matt Hasselbeck (34 years old) + cap space

-Cleveland passed on Sanchez for Derek Anderson at No. 5 overall (hated Brady Quinn)

-Buffalo passed on Josh Freeman for Trent Edwards then drafted Aaron Maybin at No. 11

-Cleveland passed on Freeman for Derek Anderson at No. 17 overall (hated Brady Quinn)

As you can see, there have been tons of times in the past few years where a team failed to secure a future franchsie quarterback simply because they believed the crap they currently had the position was infinitely better than it was (or they just misevaluated the talent in the draft at quarterback).

It's a big joke, but I think the same could very well happen to Clausen in the 2010 NFL Draft. History says just because you think you are solidified at the quarterback position doesn't mean you really are. I think teams want to feel like they don't have to spend a first round pick on the position because that's easier - they can then address another position on their team in the first round and pray their current quarterbacks can get the job done in the present and future.

The bottom line is I could very well see Clausen falling into the laps of Arizona or Minnesota in the first round just like Aaron Rodgers did in the 2005 NFL Draft.

Rodgers didn't fall because teams didn't need quarterbacks. Rodgers fell because the teams had absolutely no idea of how to evaluate the position - both on their own team and in the draft.

Matt McGuire's Recent NFL Draft Blog Entries:

Analyzing Andrew Luck's Decision - 1/7
Luck vs. Locker - 9/15
Top 10 Quarterback Busts - 7/7
NBA Draft vs. NFL Draft - 6/27
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Kentucky 2010 NBA Draft Prospect Blog - 6/1
Brett Favre Retirement Conditions - 5/30
2010 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year - 5/24
2010 NFL Power Rankings Tier - 5/21
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The Buffalo Bills - 5/13
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Most Productive 2010 NFL Rookies - 5/6
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2010 NFL Draft Observations and Telecast Blog - 4/26
2010 NFL Draft Grades: Day 3 - 4/25
2010 NFL Draft Grades: Rounds 1-3 - 4/24
2010 NFL Draft Grades: First Round - 4/23
2010 NFL Draft Trade Analysis - 4/23
Random Round 1 Thoughts and Analysis - 4/23
2010 NFL Draft Class Predictions - 4/22
2010 NFL Draft Trades - 4/21
Response to Mike Mayock's Redskins-Trent Williams Comment - 4/8
Teams Misevaluating Their Own Quarterbacks - 4/6
Where Will Jimmy Clausen Go? - 4/5
2010 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 Picks - 3/25
Gerald McCoy's Draft Range - 3/12
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Offense Matters - 3/9
Mel Kiper vs. Todd McShay Debate Revisited - 3/8
Taylor Mays - 3/3
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Quarterback Height (Jimmy Clausen) - 2/25
The Top Five Reasons the Redskins Won't Pass on Jimmy Clausen - 2/22
2010 NFL Draft: All-Overhyped and Underrated Teams - 2/18
Matt Ryan and the Rams - 2/17
Prospect Case Study: Tim Tebow - 2/11
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Tim Tebow at the Senior Bowl - 1/14
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