I’ve seen a significant number of questions/comments/opinions/rants about the 2010 quarterback class in recent posts and have decided to finally jump off the ship into the deep black ocean that is evaluating quarterbacks.
Admittedly, I have been able to watch less prospect film this year than I normally try to, mainly as a result of this being the first year that I am manning Vikings Gab during the run up to the draft. With that being said, I’m going to present you with my opinions on many of the quarterbacks (go use the bathroom now, this is going to be a long trip) and then ask for your opinions. I’ve decided to simplify my evaluations, in a sense, by using a QB1 vs. QB2 format… you’ll see what I mean.
Sam Bradford vs. Jimmy Clausen
Clausen and Bradford are more neck-and-neck for top quarterback status than many people want to believe.
Both have adequate size when you are looking for a franchise quarterback. Both have strong arms, but Clausen has the upper hand when it comes to arm strength. Both have experience in a pro-style offense, but Clausen was more immersed in one on a full time basis.
Sam Bradford is known for his pinpoint accuracy, but in recent years Clausen has improved greatly in this area. In 2009 Clausen’s completion percentage was 68%. Throwing out Bradford’s 2009 season (which was a 56.5% completion percentage by the way) because of injury, Bradford posted a 67.9% completion percentage in 2008… which is on tenth of a point behind Clausen’s 2009 numbers. Essentially, I think both of these guys are incredibly accurate quarterbacks.
The stats for both these guys are very impressive, but the fact that Clausen often faced a much more formidable pass rush is what puts him above Bradford in my mind. Bradford seldom had to scramble, and his ability to throw on the run is a question mark heading into the draft.
One area where I think Bradford has the leg up on Clausen are some of the mental aspects of the game. His technique and footwork, ability to really sell the play action, and the personality that seems to make him a natural leader of men.
Clausen’s personality is reminiscent of Phillip Rivers, for better or worse. In fact, when comparing Clausen to Bradford it feels eerily similar to comparing Rivers to Eli Manning. Also, much like Rivers and Manning, I wouldn’t be too surprised if they both panned out as NFL quarterbacks.
It is impossible to tell whether a prospect will ever reach their full potential, but I have to say that I see far more upside and “superstar” potential out of Clausen than I do Bradford. Thus, Clausen is my pick for the top quarterback prospect in this draft, with Bradford trailing by less than a hair. Both deserve to be taken in the top five of this draft.