Regardless of Notre Dame's recent decision to fire head coach Charlie Weis, it's unlikely that Clausen would've returned to play another year for the Irish.
On the heels of a 28 touchdown, 4 interception junior campaign, Clausen is well-positioned to be one of the first 10 players selected in the April draft.
Like any other draft, there are several NFL organizations who are desperately seeking their next franchise quarterback. Let's take a look at a few teams who might add Clausen to their short list:
5. Washington Redskins/Projected Pick No.: 6
Daniel Snyder badly wants a big name quarterback, and he's exactly the type of guy who would be enamoured with the success that some top QB picks have had, of late, early in their careers.
4. Oakland Raiders/Projected Pick No.: 8
JaMarcus Russell is light years away from becoming a mediocre NFL quarterback. Bruce Gradkowski is a stop-gap. Jimmy Clausen is a polished system QB, and a big name who will help fill the seats.
3. Seattle Seahawks/Projected Pick No.: 11
Matt Hasselbeck is 34. Aside from Justin Forsett, the Seahawks appear to lack foundational talent, and they have to start rebuilding (enter new GM).
Clausen has trained for three years in a pro-style system, and one would think that the transition to Seattle's West Coast offense would be fairly seamless. He could sit behind Hasselbeck for one or two years, before taking the reins.
2. Buffalo Bills/Projected Pick No.: 7
The Bills and their fan base seem to have turned sour on Trent Edwards. With the team struggling (and struggling to stay in Buffalo), a nationally recognized QB prospect could bring the spotlight back to Northwest New York State in a way that Terrell Owens could not.
The Bills have quality skill players on offense, and a fairly stout defense. With a Matt Ryan- or Joe Flacco-like addition, they could find themselves back in the playoffs shortly.
1. St. Louis Rams/Projected Pick: No. 2
Let's face it, the Rams need a quarterback. Mark Bulger is finished, and Kyle Boller is a poor man's David Carr.
Sam Bradford is a risky pick with his injury issues, and Jake Locker is awfully raw, and won't be ready to start anytime soon. Clausen could potentially step in off the bat next season, and set the franchise on a new ground.