ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay has raised numerous questions about Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen’s leadership abilities and maturity. While we have no way of knowing for sure, other draft analysts such as Mel Kiper, Jr. have disagreed with that assessment and think he’ll be just fine at the NFL level.
Count former Washington Redskins vice president of player personnel Vinny Cerrato as someone who agrees with Kiper. Cerrato worked at Notre Dame in the late ’80’s and said he’s spoken with people at Notre Dame about Clausen and they say that he’s very mature.
Photo Caption: “I’m telling you, Danny, the Texans really struck gold with this Carr kid. I’d be shocked if he’s not a first-ballot Hall of Famer.”
“I think Todd McShay started that, you know?” Cerrato said. “I’d like to know who Todd McShay talked to at Notre Dame about Jimmy. That’s what I would like to know, because I was at the school and talked to everybody. And there’s a lot of people there that were there when I was there, so they’ll tell me the truth. And, you know, the truth is he came in as the No. 1 player in the country. And he was [former coach Charlie Weis's] first recruit. So I think the older players kind of weren’t crazy about that part. He was a little immature when he first arrived. He matured each year, he was only there three, and he matured each year.”
The Redskins hold the fourth-overall draft pick this year and many believe that new head coach Mike Shanahan has interest in drafting Clausen. But, since Cerrato used to be responsible for drafting poor players (or trading all the picks away entirely), we think that his opinion might mean that the ‘Skins should steer clear of this dude.
“Here’s what they told me: As a sophomore, he didn’t get many votes to be captain,” Cerrato continued. “As a junior, [he] received every vote of all the members of the team to be the captain. And everybody told me [he was] a totally different kid from sophomore year to junior year. Really grew up, matured, became the leader of the team [and] took charge of everything. … He’s a totally mature guy. I mean, you know what he is? He’s a gym rat. He’s a football junkie. He loves to talk about football. He loves to watch film. He’s very smart about football coverages, all those things. And you know what? He plays with a passion. That’s the thing.”
As always, this is all just talk. No one knows anything for sure. The only way to find out about a player is to draft him and see what they can do.