Jimmy Clausen has Ben Roethlisberger to thank for this. That's the lesson of Day 1 of the NFL draft.
It is, anyway, my theory and I'm sticking to it, as Tebow goes to Denver as the second quarterback picked and Clausen remains waiting for the phone call as the second round rolls around. Character really does matter, apparently, in the En Eff Ell. Didn't Roger Goodell drive that point home Wednesday with his six-game smackdown of Dirtbag Ben Roethlisberger, two-time Super Bowl champ and perhaps two-time sexual predator?
The timing of the 'Bag's latest prey-fest couldn't have come at a worse time for Clausen, whose manifest skills have been countered, in the minds of some, by some sketchy maturity/attitude issues. I don't know if anyone manning the phones Thursday was actively thinking of Roethlisberger as they gave Clausen a pass, but the evidence sure suggests as much.
Consider: With Tebow you get undeniable character upside, but he's also a quarterback with well-documented throwing mechanics issues, coming out of an offensive system no one runs in the NFL except in gadget packages. Compare that to Clausen, who has a bonafide NFL arm, apparently wowed scouts with his knowledge of defenses and spent three years at Notre Dame playing in a pro system.
Plus, his numbers this past season, with a vastly inferior team, were light-years better than Tebow's. Plus, he did it with no running game and no defense, which meant he spent a lot of time playing from behind, which meant teams could tee off on him.
So why Tebow and not Clausen -- or, say, Colt McCoy?
With McCoy, it's likely size and, again, unfamiliarity with a pro-style offense. With Clausen ...
Three words: The Roethlisberger Effect.