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PI Finds: Clausen & Irish QBs In the NFL

Posted by Neil Paine on December 7, 2009

In news that really didn't surprise anyone, Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen declared himself eligible for the NFL Draft today. There's not a whole lot in the decision to argue with -- his coach was fired last week, after all, and Clausen's career numbers are certainly solid for a QB prospect:

YEAR CMP ATT YDS CMP% YPA LNG TD INT SACK RAT
2007 138 245 1254 56.3 5.1 44 7 6 35 103.9
2008 268 440 3172 60.9 7.2 69 25 17 21 132.5
2009 289 425 3722 68.0 8.8 88 28 4 24 161.4

But I'm going to talk more about how Notre Dame, obviously one of the nation's top programs of all time, hasn't had much success with pro QB prospects over the past two decades. In their history, they have seen six of their 22 drafted quarterbacks develop into good pro players -- Johnny Lujack, Frank Tripucka, Joe Montana, Joe Theismann, Steve Beuerlein, and Daryle Lamonica are all Fighting Irish QBs who became Pro Bowlers or 1st Team All-Pros -- but since Montana was drafted in 1979, they've sent nine QBs to the NFL (Brady Quinn, Jarious Jackson, Rick Mirer, Kent Graham, Beuerlein, Ken Karcher, Blair Kiel, Tom Clements, & Rusty Lisch) and only Beuerlein even became an average player. The career marks of those QBs are as follows:

Player Pos G Cmp Att Cmp% Yds TD TD% Int Int% Lng Y/A Rate
Steve Beuerlein QB 147 1894 3328 56.9 24046 147.0 4.4 112 3.4 88 7.2 80.3
Rick Mirer QB 80 1088 2043 53.3 11969 50.0 2.4 76 3.7 60 5.9 63.5
Kent Graham QB 83 694 1339 51.8 7801 39.0 2.9 33 2.5 87 5.8 69.0
Brady Quinn QB 12 168 317 53.0 1746 10.0 3.2 7 2.2 59 5.5 70.5
Blair Kiel QB 25 108 193 56.0 1296 8.0 4.1 7 3.6 50 6.7 75.4
Ken Karcher QB 4 62 114 54.4 756 6.0 5.3 4 3.5 74 6.6 78.0
Rusty Lisch QB 30 55 115 47.8 547 1.0 0.9 11 9.6 26 4.8 25.1
Jarious Jackson QB 5 11 22 50.0 114 0.0 0.0 1 4.5 19 5.2 46.4
Tom Clements QB 1 7 12 58.3 77 0.0 0.0 0 0.0 18 6.4 77.4

In all fairness, not all of these guys were drafted as highly as Clausen is likely to be selected (somewhere between Mirer and Quinn, I'd imagine), but the fact remains that Notre Dame quarterbacks are in the midst of a 20-year dry spell at the NFL level. The only question now is whether or not Clausen will be able to break that streak of mediocrity under center, or if he'll fade into obscurity along with almost every other name on that list.

This entry was posted on Monday, December 7th, 2009 at 3:07 pm and is filed under PI Finds. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.