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Football: Clausen waits until second round for pick

Douglas Farmer | Monday, April 26, 2010

Former Irish quarterback Jimmy Clausen was the first of four former Irish players drafted over the weekend in the 2010 NFL Draft. Clausen — widely expected to be drafted in the first round — had to wait until the 16th pick of the second round, the 48th pick overall, to hear the Carolina Panthers call his name.

“I always said I wanted to get picked as high as I could but everything happens for a reason,” Clausen said during a conference call with the Panthers’ local media after the pick. “Obviously I wanted to go as early as I could but I’m in a great situation at Carolina. I keep saying it over and over again, but I can’t wait to get there and get to work.”

Clausen enters a situation with the Panthers in which he could see playing time sooner rather than later. Jake Delhomme started Carolina’s first 11 games in 2009, but in the midst of a disappointing season, Panthers coach John Fox plugged Matt Moore, in his third NFL season, into the starting lineup for the final five games. The Panthers won four of those games, but Clausen said he expects to be given a chance to start.

“My goal is to try to be the starter from day one,” he said. “Whatever the coaches want me to do, I’m going to do it to the best of my ability. At the end of the day, if I’m good enough to play, then I’ll play.”

Clausen said he first learned his wait was over when Fox called him shortly before the pick was announced.

“I was playing pool with my family and friends and the phone rings. My brother Rick screamed at me and handed me the phone and it was coach Fox,” Clausen said. “I was really excited.”

Clausen said the Panthers tried to move up in the draft to select him.

“[Fox] told me they were trying to get up to the 32nd pick, but it didn’t work out,” he said. “[Fox is] really excited to have me on the team.”

Former Irish receiver Golden Tate had to wait for 12 more selections than Clausen did before hearing his name called by the Seattle Seahawks with the 60th pick of the draft.

“I just wanted to go into a good situation,” Tate said in an interview with Northwest Cable News after the draft. “I think Seattle will be a great situation for me.”

Tate will be playing for former USC coach Pete Carroll, but beyond that, he said he does not know much about the Seahawks.

“They have cool colors, that’s about the only think I know about them,” Tate said. “I’m excited to go there and show them I can play and help the team in any way they need me.”

Former Irish linemen Sam Young (Dallas Cowboys, 179th overall pick) Eric Olsen (Denver Broncos, 183rd overall pick) also heard their names in the draft.