Every year there is a player or two that falls a lot further than experts would have predicted. Success can be determined by the situation the player drops to and what the player makes of that situation.
Sometimes that player ends up being a great player, like Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers in 2005. Other times, the disappointment continues in the NFL, such as with Denver Broncos QB Brady Quinn, who has already been traded from the Cleveland Browns after just three seasons.
This year the two big losers were Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen and Texas QB Colt McCoy. Many experts saw Clausen as a top 10 pick and McCoy figured to be drafted at the end of the first round or early second round. That just did not pan out; Clausen went in the second round with the 48th pick in the draft to the Carolina Panthers and McCoy went in the third round with the 85th pick to the Cleveland Browns.
McCoy is not such an issue, because he had completed his senior year. He could not go back to Texas for another season to improve his stock. Scouts viewed him as too short and not a strong enough arm; they would have had the same opinion in 2009.
The good thing with the Browns is they have no long-term answer at QB and he could end up being a starter there in two or three seasons. It is not a great situation, because Cleveland is rebuilding, but it is not a terrible situation either. He is a great player to draft late in a dynasty league and sit on your bench for a couple of years. He could develop into quality starter at a low price with little to no risk.
In retrospect, Clausen made a terrible decision to enter the draft. He left a year early from Notre Dame hoping to be a top 10 pick. Clausen figured to be the second quarterback to be taken. Last year USC QB Mark Sanchez, who was the second quarterback taken and fifth overall pick of the New York Jets, saw $28 million guaranteed.
Clasusen came out a year early to see that type of money. West Virginia QB Pat White was the 44th pick of the 2009 NFL draft, selected by the Miami Dolphins. He signed a four-year deal worth $4.5 million, with about $2.4 million guaranteed. Clausen may find more money than that, but he is not going to come anywhere close to the $30 million guaranteed that he was hoping to see. The decision to come out early has potentially cost him tens of millions of dollars.
The good news is he landed in Carolina, which has a great running game, strong offensive line, perennial Pro Bowl WR Steve Smith and no established starting quarterback. QB Matt Moore has made eight starts in three seasons with Carolina. If Clausen works his tail off, he could challenge for the starting job either this year or next year and would be in a position to win immediately. I see Clausen as an even better dynasty prospect than McCoy, because the Panthers have a better team and he could see the field sooner.
Dropping in the draft can be a financially losing proposition, but it does not have to mean that the player will have a bad NFL career. Just because players tumble in the draft does not mean they are not viable fantasy players. In a couple of years, one or both of these guys could have developed into a viable starting fantasy quarterback.
By Derek Lofland, NFL director at Fantasy Football Maniaxs