8 Years Ago, Draft Expert Mel Kiper Jr. Said He’d Retire If This QB Wasn’t A Star By 2018

Bryan Brandom
(Photo: Getty Images)

If Mel Kiper Jr. wants to keep his job as one of ESPN’s NFL draft experts, he’s going to have to track down Jimmy Clausen and, in the span of three months, turn him into a star.

That is, if Kiper plans to honor a commitment he made back on April 19, 2010, when he said he’d call it a career if Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen wasn’t a “successful” quarterback within eight years.

Here’s the exchange Kiper had with colleague Todd McShay on ESPN, via Awful Announcing:

“If Jimmy Clausen is not a successful quarterback in the NFL, I’m done. That’s it. I’m out.”

Replied McShay: “What is your time frame, Mel? When do we make that assessment?”

Kiper: “I want eight years.”

McShay: “It will only take three years, Mel. We can tell inside three years.”

Kiper: “I want eight.”

The prediction hasn’t gone as planned: Clausen last played in the NFL in 2015, and up until that point, he was pretty miserable, posting a 1-13 record and throwing twice as many interceptions, 14, as touchdowns.

Drafting and projecting the draft are impossibly tough gigs—if either was easy, the concepts of “busts” and “sleepers” wouldn’t exist. So it’s hard to fault Kiper for being wrong. When you do it for as long as he’s been doing it, even the best evaluators are gonna be dead wrong, a lot.

Buuuuut Kiper was way higher on Clausen than just about any other expert at the time, calling him the fourth-best overall prospect in the 2010 draft. Clausen wound up going 48th overall to the Carolina Panthers, and as we’ve learned, even that was too high.

All I’m saying is, maybe don’t put too much stock in Kiper’s stunning decision to rate Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen No. 1 overall in the upcoming draft, miles ahead of where anyone else has him.

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