ND's Clausen taken by Panthers

Updated: April 23, 2010, 9:55 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Carolina Panthers general manager Marty Hurney spent much of Friday trying to move up in the draft to take Jimmy Clausen, a day after the Notre Dame quarterback was a surprising first-round snub.

Hurney couldn't strike a deal, however, and when Arizona traded up to the 47th slot -- one pick ahead of the Panthers -- Hurney acknowledged he was crushed, sure the Cardinals were going to take him.

"I could lie, but I won't," Hurney said.

Only the Cardinals passed on Clausen, too. It didn't take Hurney long to pounce -- shaking up Carolina's newly shuffled quarterback depth chart.

"You always say anything can happen," Hurney said, smiling. "Wow, it happened. ... We think he's an excellent quarterback and we feel extremely fortunate to get a quarterback of his ability with the 48th pick."

One of Clausen's main targets with the Irish was also drafted on Friday. The Seattle Seahawks selected wide receiver Golden Tate with the 60th pick overall. The 5-10, 199-pound Tate joins T.J. Houshmandzadeh on Seattle's receiving corps.

Tate had a huge year for the Irish, catching 93 passes for 1,496 yards and 15 TDs.

There's a certain irony in Tate going to Seattle since new coach Pete Carroll was the longtime nemesis of Fighting Irish fans when he was the coach of Southern California. This is his first season with the Seahawks.

After sitting out the first night of the draft with no first-round pick, the Panthers addressed one of their biggest needs and perhaps presented immediate competition to newly minted starter Matt Moore.

The 6-foot-3, 222-pound Clausen was rated as a first-round pick -- perhaps even in the top 10 -- by many analysts. But he wasn't selected on Thursday, perhaps because of concerns about his leadership and personality.

Carolina didn't hesitate, taking him ahead of his college teammate, Golden Tate, and other receiver prospects. The Panthers also decided to wait on addressing holes on the defensive line.

It ended a wait for Clausen similar to fellow former Fighting Irish QB Brady Quinn in 2007. Even Florida's Tim Tebow was picked ahead of him on Thursday.

Clausen said his agent had told him Washington had considered taking him at No. 4, and that Pittsburgh had been trying to move up into the top 10 to get him, but the moves didn't happen.

As he continued to plummet on Friday, Clausen even stopped watching the draft with his family in Palm Springs, Calif. He was playing pool with his friends when his brother handed him the phone. Panthers coach John Fox was at the other end.

"He told me he was trying to get up to the 33rd pick," Clausen said. "He was just really excited to have me on the team. I told him I can't wait to get there and go to work."

Clausen, who threw 60 touchdowns and 27 interceptions with the Fighting Irish but was just 16-18 as a starter, will join a thin quarterback unit with Carolina. The Panthers released longtime starter Jake Delhomme last month. Moore has started eight NFL games and Hunter Cantwell none.

Hurney wouldn't say if Clausen would immediately compete for the starting job, but lauded his experience playing in a pro-style offense similar Carolina's. Fox and former Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis are close friends.

"I think it's going to help me tremendously, being in coach Weis' system," Clausen said. "Coach Fox told me he said it was the same exact system I've played in the last three years. I'm really excited about that."

A beaming Hurney said Clausen was by far the highest-ranked player left on their draft board, and had no concerns about lingering personality issues that may have caused to him to plummet in the draft.

"We didn't have those questions," Hurney said. "The people you talked to at Notre Dame, the people that have been around him, I think would tell you that they don't think some of those things are fair.

The Panthers also had a third round pick on Friday, 78th overall.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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