Will the 49ers target Clausen tomorrow night?

Two days before the draft I try not to get too overly excited about reports of prospects and the teams that are targeting them in the first round. It seems trivial to a point.

However, I read a piece by Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News recently that grabbed my attention due to the fact that it broke down why the Niners should not only take hard look at Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen, but take him off of the board at No.13 or No.17—or even trade up to get him.

Clausen is the wild card of the NFL’s first round of the draft. Washington, Seattle, Cleveland, Buffalo and even Jacksonville have all been linked to him throughout this process at some point. But, is there any real interest there? There has also been talk about a draft day slide, which is also a possibility, and an idea that would sit well with San Fran ownership.

Alex Smith, no matter how many chances the Niners give him, isn’t a starting QB in this league who is going to win Super Bowls. However, is Clausen?

We talk about the pro-style offense he played in under Charlie Weis at Notre Dame and even call him “NFL ready,” which is a bold statement for any rookie player in the draft. But, this will all be about potential for the Niners. If Clausen projects as a starting QB who can work with the young talent San Fran has in WR Michael Crabtree and TE Vernon Davis—along with a nasty defense and a solid running game, then you make this pick.

But, to trade up and sacrifice value in the draft is another question. If he is hanging around at No.10, the Niners may have to make a move if they do value Clausen as highly as reports say.

I like this San Fran team under Singletary and even listed their Monday night game in Week 12 at Arizona as one of the key games to watch this regular season after the schedule was released last night. Because the Niners play a style of football that is conducive to winning at this level once the calendar turns to November and December in a division that is in transition out west.

However, if they want to be a team that is more than a playoff representative of the NFC West, they need a QB that can make a post season run in the future.

Is that Clausen?

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