If the Panthers take Cam Newton or Blaine Gabbert with the first pick in the draft, they’re essentially saying that the quarterback they drafted in the second round last year, Jimmy Clausen, isn’t their starter of the future.
But the good news for Clausen is that the man who makes the decision in the Carolina draft room, Panthers G.M. Marty Hurney, has been described as Clausen’s one supporter. And in an appearance on WBT radio, Hurney said criticisms of Clausen’s rookie season have been unfair.
“You look at the history of rookie quarterbacks, and it’s really unfair to expect a quarterback to go in and have a lot of success as a rookie,” Hurney said.
It’s true that quarterback is a tough position for a rookie to play, but Clausen was viewed heading into last year’s draft as the most NFL-ready quarterback of the bunch. But far from being ready to play as a rookie, Clausen was dreadful last season, starting 10 games and completing 157 of 299 passes for 1,558 yards, with three touchdowns and nine interceptions for a passer rating of 58.4.
Overall, Hurney said, the Panthers are building for the future after a terrible 2010.
“Nobody in our organization would have ever dreamed we were going to go 2-14,” Hurney said.
In the same radio appearance, Panthers owner Jerry Richardson expressed nothing but confidence in Hurney’s ability to turn the team around.
“Marty’s done an extraordinary job,” Richardson said. “Anyone who studies the drafts he’s had would rate them very high. . . . He’s done an outstanding job drafting players.”
But so far, there’s been no evidence that Hurley made an outstanding choice when he picked Clausen.