Let us be the first to wish Mel Kiper Jr. a happy retirement.
What, you didn’t realize Kiper was calling it quits?
That’s probably because it’s been awhile since Mel’s official announcement way back in 2010. If your memory needs to be jogged a bit, he did it while debating ESPN foil Todd McShay on “NFL Live” leading up to that year’s draft.
The topic? The NFL future of then-Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen.
Kiper had Clausen ranked as the fourth best prospect in the entire 2010 NFL Draft even though most other draft pundits had the QB projected to go in the second round (Clausen was subsequently selected 48th overall by the Carolina Panthers). At the time, people accused Kiper of being biased since he and Clausen shared the same agent, Gary Wichard.
But Kiper only dug in his heels further, making this infamous proclamation on ESPN:
“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.”
Well, Kiper got his eight years and here we finally are in 2018 — over two years after Clausen’s final NFL game. As for whether his career was a “success,” the stats speak for themselves:
That’s right, Clausen had twice as many career interceptions (14) as touchdowns (7) and a 1-13 record as a starter.
Considering that Clausen hasn’t been in the league since 2015, we think it’s safe to close the book on his NFL career and officially declare it unsuccessful.
Granted, when you’ve called every NFL draft for ESPN since 1984 like Kiper has, you are bound to make some mistakes. And banking on Jimmy Clausen is hardly the only errant prediction Kiper has made over the years. But betting his career on Clausen’s NFL success — even if only facetiously — makes this Kiper’s most infamous prognostication.
Of course, we don’t actually expect the 57-year-old Kiper to retire before the 2018 NFL Draft in Arlington, TX, this April.
In fact, Kiper is just as bold as ever.
He revealed his first 2018 mock draft last week and shocked many by projecting Wyoming QB Josh Allen to go first overall to the Cleveland Browns despite a very average junior season.
Could it happen? Sure.
Allen is a consensus Top 15 NFL draft pick and the Browns desperately need to draft a quarterback.
Let’s just hope Kiper has learned his lesson and doesn’t bet his career on it.