The New York Jets selected Oregon QB Kellen Clemens with their second round selection (#49 overall), expecting the young passer will add more fuel to the fiery quarterback competition.
"Here's another guy who has a great TD to INT ratio and a great completion percentage," said Jets head coach Eric Mangini. "He's got that type of personality that's described as infectious. His players rally around him. So I'm excited about the depth and competition he adds and the person that we've added to the team."
Clemens put up some serious numbers in the Pac-10 conference. He threw for 61 touchdowns to just 24 interceptions over a career where he started every game he played since his sophomore season. In the eighth game of his senior season against Arizona, Clemens snapped his left fibula upon being dragged down by a defender. Prior to this season-ending injury, Clemens had thrown for 2,406 yards with 19 touchdowns to just four interceptions on the year. In addition to his precise passing game, Clemens had 535 career rushing yards with six touchdowns. His ability to consistently scramble for additional yardage adds a substantial second threat to his offensive attack, which is almost essential in today's game.
Missing the last four games with that serious leg fracture threw uncertainty to Clemens' draft status for months during prime scouting season. While many other young players in this quandary would suffer tremendous anxiety, Clemens remained calm in regards to his professional standing, even during the few tense days heading into the draft.
This Clemens' coolness was something that both the Jets and scouts across the league took note of along with his unruffled playing style. The experts that have dissected his game believe Clemens' most appealing attributes may be his composed manner in the pocket and his knowledgeable "feel" for the sport in general.
"Quarterback is one position where it is not just what you are doing on the field. It's how you are, what type of leader you are and what type of poise you possess," according to Clemens' agent David Dunn, who represents a long list of successful athletes. "He is as well-balanced a player as I have worked with. When scouts ask me about him, I'll compare him to guys with characteristics like him, like a Jake Plummer or a Matt Hasselbeck."
The newest Jets signal caller leaves behind his Burns, Oregon ranch, along with its 3,500 acres and 100 cows, with ambitions of starting in the NFL. Realistically, that's his long-term goal, but as for now, he comes with eager ears, ready to learn from the proven veterans who have been taking snaps over the years.
"This is an opportunity for me," he said of his ideal situation. "Chad Pennington is a guy who has proved that he understands the game at that level and can win at that level. There is a good veteran guy that I can learn behind for a couple of years and then hopefully get the chance to play, so this is a chance to bust tale and try to get ready to play and compete."