PITTSBURGH, PA – AUGUST 30: Quarterback Jimmy Clausen #7 of the Carolina Panthers reacts after being hit against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the preseason game on August 30, 2012 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

The NFL Draft is a the ultimate event for hot takes: an occasion on which thousands of people with very little expertise act like they know more than professional organizations about something they have analyzed for months on end.

And back in 2010, all the stars aligned for a beautiful deluge of cold takes.

You had Jimmy Clausen, a tall pocket-passing quarterback who had been a three-year starter at the most glamorous of schools, Notre Dame. You had a rumor mill that had some people believing he was a candidate to go No. 1 overall. And you had a league full of teams simply not that impressed by him.

The most notable Clausen-lover was ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr., who ranked the quarterback as the fourth best player in the draft and touted him as a future star. Via the Charlotte Observer:

“The reason I like him is because he’s tough, he’s gritty and he competes,” Kiper told the Observer on a conference call with reporters this week. “He’s 6-2  1/2, 220, which is ideal size. He doesn’t have a howitzer for an arm, but it’s good enough – it’s more than good enough.”>

In the lead-up to the draft, Kiper made a bold promise, as chronicled for Awful Announcing by Jimmy Traina.

Kiper: “If Jimmy Clausen is not a successful quarterback in the NFL, I’m done. That’s it. I’m out.”

McShay: “What is your time frame, Mel? When do we make that assessment?”

Kiper: “I want eight years.”

The pick was seven years ago, so Kiper’s time is running short.

We shouldn’t pick on Kiper, however, because plenty of others agreed with him. When Clausen eventually went No. 48 overall to the Carolina Panthers, praise rained in.


A college sophomore named Draymond Green was among the biggest supporters of the pick.

Of course, Clausen did not turn into an NFL star. He made only 14 starts in a four-year NFL career, completing a mere 54 percent of his passes and throwing twice as many interceptions (14) as touchdowns (7). His win-loss record as a starter was 1-13.

There is one more person who needs to be called out for an incorrect prediction here.

Clausen himself was asked shortly after the draft what he told Panthers when they picked him. And by his own account, he said to Carolina, “I just want to tell you that you guys made the best pick in the draft.”


About Alex Putterman

Alex is a writer and editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. He has written for The Atlantic, VICE Sports, MLB.com, SI.com and more. He is a proud alum of Northwestern University and The Daily Northwestern. You can find him on Twitter @AlexPutterman.