Monday, April 5, 2010

Clausen should fall to the Browns

The Redskins solved their quarterback problems by trading for Donovan McNabb, and that means they won't be taking Jimmy Clausen with the fourth pick in the first round two weeks from Thursday. That could be bad for the Browns if they are serious about locking in on Eric Berry, the outstanding safety from Tennessee, with the seventh pick.

It also means Clausen will be available for the Browns.

Browns president Mike Holmgren has said he "wished he could like Clausen more," which doesn't mean he couldn't learn to like him. Some analysts say Clausen is the most NFL-ready of all the quarterbacks in the draft because he played in a pro-style offense under Charlie Weis at Notre Dame. Seems we heard that three years ago.

The fact Brady Quinn went to Notre Dame and flamed out as a Browns quarterback should have nothing to do with how the Browns assess Clausen. That doesn't mean they should pick him, but he could be very tempting. And don't forget, Clausen is one of the draft prospects visiting the Browns facility. Teams do not give out those invitations lightly because they are allowed only 30 visits; the Browns will want to make sure he has healed from a toe injury and discover what kind of demeanor Clausen has.

Now the top six picks in the draft shape up like this: Rams - QB Sam Bradford; Lions _ DT Ndamukong Suh; Buccaneers - DT Gerald McCoy; Chiefs; OT Russell Okung; Redskins; OT Bryan Bulaga; Seahakws - Berry.

The Seahawks need a left tackle, too, and could reach for Trent Williams. The Redskins need a safety, but they want to make sure McNabb is protected first.

That would leave the Browns choosing from DE/OLB Jason Pierre-Paul, cornerback Joe Haden (unlikely after getting Sheldon Brown in the trade with the Eagles), inside linebacker Rolando McClain, safety Taylor Mays, safety Earl Thomas - or Clausen.

The Redskins got McNabb for a second-round pick this year and a third-round or fourth-round pick next year. If the Browns had held out and not signed Jake Delhomme they could probably have made that same trade. McNabb is better than Delhomme, but given the fact the Browns won't be playoff contenders for two years I'd rather have the second round pick.