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April 25, 2011 @ 9:24 am
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Clayborn Visits Bucs, Could Be The Pick

Written by Charlie
Charlie Campbell


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Later this week, the Buccaneers could make Iowa DE Adrian Clayborn the team's first-round pick. Clayborn talks about his visit with Tampa Bay and how he fits as a pro at left end or right end.
In a matter of days, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are likely to have a new starter at defensive end by virtue of their first-round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. That player could easily be Iowa defensive end Adrian Clayborn. PewterReport.com has learned that Clayborn has visited with the Bucs at One Buccaneer Place as one of the team's 30 pre-draft player invites. Clayborn believes he could be a good fit for the Buccaneers as they stand to make their first pick with the 20th overall selection.

“It was a great meeting. I met with the defensive line coaches and the head coach, and the GM. I really liked them a lot and feel like it would be a great fit,” said Clayborn. “They did a good job of explaining to me the defense and how I would fit well into it. With Raheem it was a great one. We talked about certain things. It looks like a good fit and I like both the [defensive line] coaches. We’ll see. It was an overall good meeting and great day.”

Sources have told Pewter Report that the Bucs have gone deep into vetting Clayborn and interviewing people associated with Clayborn dating back to his high school days.

Tampa Bay is seeking an edge rusher after finishing last in the NFC in sacks in 2010. The Bucs have not had a double-digit sacker since Simeon Rice was able to accomplish that feat in the 2005 season. Clayborn burst onto the college football landscape with a big season in 2009. As a junior, he notched 11.5 sacks with 20 tackles for a loss, 70 tackles, four forced fumbles, one blocked punt that he returned for a touchdown, and one interception he returned 53 yards for a touchdown.

Last year, Clayborn was the focus of more attention from his Big 10 opponents and his numbers dipped to 52 tackles, 7.5 tackles for a loss, 3.5 sacks, one forced fumble and one blocked kick. Clayborn still had some strong performances including his October 23 game against Wisconsin. Going against Badgers left tackle Gabe Carimi, a likely first-round pick on Thursday night, Clayborn had five tackles, one sack, and one forced fumble. Playing against the big and powerful offensive tackles of the Big 10 has Clayborn believing he was prepared well for the NFL.

“Definitely, that is what we go against in the Big 10 pretty much every week,” said Clayborn. “Going against [former Iowa offensive tackle Bryan] Bulaga for two years definitely helped me a lot. I think I did well against him. He’d beat me and I’d beat him. It was a good battle.”

Bulaga, a standout left tackle was a first-round pick of the Green Bay Packers last year and was a starter on Green Bay’s Super Bowl run. Facing Bulaga in practice and the offensive linemen at a school that is known for developing quality linemen has Clayborn projected to be first-round pick.

“It prepared me well. The coaches did a good job of that. We work hard on and off the field,” said Clayborn.

After Clayborn’s banner junior season many projected him to be a top 10 pick entering his senior season. The reduced sack numbers have some believing that Clayborn will have to play left defensive end in the pros. At Iowa, Clayborn was exclusively at right defensive end. After being born with Erb’s Palsy Clayborn’s right arm was affected and he cannot extend it fully. While Clayborn plays with strength and power, the Erb’s Palsy translates to reduced weight room strength as he managed 17 reps of 225 pounds at the NFL Scouting Combine, a low number for a defensive linemen. 

Some have wondered if the right arm issues prevent him from being able to play left defensive end. Clayborn has worked out at both end spots for NFL teams and they have told him that his explosion out of his stance has been timed the same from the right or left side. He is confident that he can play both sides of the line of scrimmage.

“That’s pretty much what I’ve heard. I know I can and we’ll see which team trusts my work and believes that I can,” said Clayborn. “I feel I can be a great pass rusher, and I feel I can play left end and take on tight ends and bigger tackles and stuff like that.”

Outside of the extra blocking attention he received, one reason for Clayborn’s lack of sacks in 2010 was he was playing the scheme that he was called on to executing. At Iowa, Clayborn’s role was to bull rush and play contain on most passing downs. The Hawkeyes did not have Clayborn develop and use a variety of pass rushing moves. With teams knowing that Clayborn was going to exclusively bull rush he was easier to prepare for.

“Yeah, that is pretty much our style of defense, bull rushing and playing fundamentally,” said Clayborn. “I’ll probably have to learn a little bit of everything at the next level. It’ll be a new experience, so I’ll have to learn a whole lot of things.”

There were times though that Iowa would have benefited from allowing Clayborn to get more creative in rushing the passer. In Clayborn’s final collegiate game he was held to one tackle and no sacks while Missouri’s Blaine Gabbert attempted 57 passes. He completed 41 of those attempts for 434 yards and one touchdown with two interceptions in Iowa's 27-24 victory in the Insight Bowl. Clayborn's one tackle in the game came in run defense.

“There were a lot three-step drops and getting the ball out pretty quick,” said Clayborn. “It was tough getting in the backfield.”

Another aspect of Clayborn’s game that has an appeal to the Buccaneers is his run defense. At 6-foot-3, 281 pounds, Clayborn is a load at the line of scrimmage. He is very adept at holding up at the point of attack and shedding his blocker to make a tackle near the down marker. Clayborn notched 192 tackles in his collegiate career including 37.5 tackles for a loss. That production, along with his 19 career sacks and seven forced fumbles, has many projecting Clayborn to be an immediate starter in the NFL. Clayborn’s run defense will certainly help him to get on the field early.

“That is something that they teach us at Iowa,” said Clayborn. “Just to be tough and playing on the line of scrimmage. That is something that we take pride in.”

If the Bucs don’t draft Clayborn they could easily be playing against him twice a season. Last week, Clayborn spent the day visiting with the Atlanta Falcons at their team headquarters in Flowery Branch, Ga. Clayborn also has been linked heavily with the New Orleans Saints. Atlanta holds the 27th overall pick and the Saints will be selecting at number 24. The Falcons are looking for a pass rusher and New Orleans has gravitated towards larger defensive ends like Clayborn in the past with players like Charles Grant and Will Smith.

One thing that Clayborn has going for him on Thursday night is how thoroughly he has impressed NFL coaches and general managers with his leadership and character. Clayborn was known as a leader of the Iowa program and adding that type of player to the locker room is appealing to every NFL team. Tampa Bay, in particular, puts an emphasis on team captains and players with an up bringing in military families. After a rash of recent arrests, selecting a player with Clayborn’s reputation is appealing to Bucs general manager Mark Dominik and head coach Raheem Morris, who like to select team captains.

“That is just my personality and my character,” said Clayborn. “I like to stand up and be a leader. I’ve learned from guys previously that were in my position. I learned from them and the way they did it and picked it up when they left.”

Clayborn was a defensive team captain in 2010 and was one of seven seniors named to Iowa's 2010 Leadership Group, one of four juniors named to the team's 2009 Leadership Group and he was one of three sophomores named to the Hawkeyes' 2008 Leadership Group.

It wouldn’t be surprising if Clayborn is the newest Tampa Bay Buccaneer come Thursday night.
Last modified on Monday, 25 April 2011 11:18

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  • avatar

    PLEASE just say no to Clayborn! Id rather lose a draft pick and try to trade up with the Dolphins at #15 to get Kerrigan! Jags appear to want him and they pick at #16. Kerrigan to me is the safest pick out of all the DE's.
  • avatar

    I was on his bandwagon from 2 years ago. Then I cooled to him but still would have no problem with the selection. Recently I have started liking the idea of selecting him alot again. I think his dropping in the draft adds fuel to the fire to be great. Hhe can play the run and is a great bull rusher. Teaching him another move or should not be an issue and then you are talking double digit guy. I also like that he is a leader on the filed and plays with a fire. I would still really like them to take Kerrigan if he is there, but Clayborne would be a damn good pick along with a LB in round 2 and hopefully DE Greg Romeus in Rd 3. They do that and Biggers and Barber and Lewis just all stepped up in a big way in place of the turd Talib because a pass rush is the best thing they can do for the secondary.
  • avatar

    I hope this is a smoke screen. Clayborne had a major set back in his senior year, when he should have been dominating the younger competition. His game film is very unimpressive. He is slow, and has no first step. He is certainly not going to be better than Stylez White. If Quinn, Watt, Kerrigan, Jordan, and Bowers are gone by #20 I expect Aldon Smith to be the pick. It would not surprise me a bit to see a DT, CB, or OT taken in round one if all of the Bucs top rated DE's are taken. Dominik won't tear up his value chart and reach on an OLB tweener in round one IMO.
  • avatar

    My gut says no with AC. Leroy didn't play against 325+lb O-lineman...so not really a fair comparison. Best available player,trade up, but please don't reach on this fella.
  • avatar

    I don't know how I feel about Clayborn. The Erb's Palsy thing really scares me, but he's come this far with it, so if Dominick and Morris think he's good to go, I'll give them the benefit of the doubt. There's some good video of his game against Carimi on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zin3JvllXm0 Carimi really looks like he blows Clayborn off the ball in the run, but Clayborn is able to get some movement with that bull rush. Personally, I'd rather take Carimi there (assuming Kerrigan is gone) and deal with the pass rush later in the draft and in free agency. Let's not forget that Ray Edwards, Justin Babin and Charles Johnson are available to improve the DE situation.
  • avatar

    I was just thinkin the same thing about Houston when I saw that he had tested positive for the green. I think I have over analyzed this 100s of time over the last couple of months and I am fine with taking Clayborn...he is a definate upgrade from what we have now..
  • avatar

    Houston can be scratched off the list now. PFT just reported he tested positive at the combine. There is no way in hell Dominik takes another risk similar to TJax and chance losing the guy to suspension. If you can't prepare for a known test date then you are too stupid to go in the first round. And don't use Sapp as an excuse...that was another era. Times have changed. Have to agree with Horse about not taking risks high in the draft this year.
  • avatar

    we need a de who can stop the run ,just as bad as one who can rush the passer.
  • avatar

    I trust Dominik and the scouting department NOW. Not before with Gruden and Allen. I know they understand what we need and they have gone out of their way to address the obvious needs. So if they don't draft a certain player or trade up or move down, I am good with the decision making because they have proved to be arguably the best draft department in the last two seasons. I find it funny how some of you are experts and have not one injury report or game cut-ups in front of you. I respect your opinion but let us all understand there is one GM and one HC and we know who they are. Clayborn looks fine to me, he's projected to be a LDE, in which we do need FYI. If the Bucs grab him then all is well.
  • avatar

    George: The great Lee Roy Selmon was listed at 6-3 and 260. But in reality he played at less than 250. He was nowhere near 280. It's comical reading theses posts that have become so predictable. Horse wants to trade down, jonnyG wants a DE in every round and George loves everyone. Me, I say target a player and go get him if possible and for the right compensation, trade down if no players are worthy at that point, but always take the best value and "stay true to your board". Don't make the draft a religious experience for me. I don't want to scream " Jesus Christ what are they doing?", "Oh my God I can't believe we drafted that guy", "Lord help us"," Holly spit", "Oh for heaven's sake, this is the worst pick ever." Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord our choices we keep. If I should die before I wake. I pray the Lord good players we'll take.
  • avatar

    No Clayborn. No Watt. They are not productive. Kerrigan or Cameron are the best picks. Or pick a corner. This guy is just not that good.
  • avatar

    After I read the article. DE Adrian Clayborn fro Iowa would be a great additional pick. Didn't another DE from Okla name Hall Of Fame LEE ROY SELMON was around 6-3/281 that came from a program like they run at Iowa. Remember isn't Iowa has snow and winter weather up there. Wouldn't the Cold won't effect Mr Adrian Clayborn, He will only get better. I say GM , Coaches forget moving up stay at 20 and draft Clayborn, Forget Houston from Ga. I think this individual would be a great fit. Can You Imagine Clayborn coming at you from one direction. McCoy-Price and Moore comes from another directions. I see success already GO BUCS. Maybe what teams say, ans what teams do. Tampa talking about moving up to get a player. How about this sistutations. Tampa selects Clayborn with pick #20, and Seattle needs a QB. How about Tampa Trade J Johnson QB to seattle.PlusTampa-, Rd-2 & Rd-3. And Tampa gets OLB-DE Houston, plus Tampa would swap picks in Rd-4 & 5. Then can you imagine Tampa would have Clayborn, McCoy,Price and Houston. Thats all I will say. Wouldn't that shake up the nfl a bit. Seattle would have a QB to build on plus if Seattle wants to draft a QB, They have Rd-2 & Rd-3 Tampa picks. I believe that would benefit all parties, that is only my opion.GO BUCS AGAIN
  • avatar

    If no DE of quality is avaiable at 0 and Dominik does nothing to trade up then go with a tweener someone like Brooks Reed or Akeem Ayers. Brooks Reed will be a star in the NFL much like Clay Matthews. Taking him at 20 would not be a mistake.
  • avatar

    Any type of medical condition scraes me and eventually it will catch up with you. I think the Bucs should do everything within their power to trade up and get Kerrigan, Watt, or Jordan. They are pretty good too.
  • avatar

    I agree with buctebow 100%. Its highly unlikely there is another Reggie White or even a Simeon Rice in this draft class, especially at the #20 spot. As long as we get a DE or two that have solid talent and a drive to win, we are already a better defense! Im not a huge fan of drafting a Clayborn or Houston in the first round because they arent that good. But our best DE on the team right now is Stylez and he had 4.5 sacks last year.... lets get real anything is better!
  • avatar

    I vote against this particular DE. I watched some, obviously not all, footage of him on youtube, and he looked lazy at times, not pursuing plays. His attitude seems lackadaisical and a bit smug. I hope this article is part of the smokescreen.
  • avatar

    Horse you forgot to mention guard.-lol Clayborne- are you fricken kidding me all we need is another guy who was unproductive at the DE position- this better be a joke or you are going to ruin my day I would rather us draft a cb or a guard with #20 then get Clayborne
  • avatar

    I totally agree with all of CC's points. I think he is the pick if our 4 other targets (Quinn, Jordan, Kerrigan, and Watt) are off the board and we decide not to trade up. I continue to believe we SHOULD trade up, but if we don't I think Clayborn should be the pick. Houston too much of a boom bust pick and Sheard, while highly productive, has character concerns that will dissuade Bucs from taking him in Round 1 in light of Talib incident. I too have read that his production was hurt as they moved to a 2 gap defense this past year. If the Bucs are comfortable that he will have the strength to play Right Defensive End despite the inability to bench much given his condition, Id be "ok" with the pick. I still think one of our target DEs would give us more bang for our buck than Clayborn plus a 3rd round pick. However, I know how much the organization values its picks in the first 4 rounds, and thus can see us not moving up. The Talib incident might have really cemented Dominik's decision not to trade up as we now have more of a need for a CB than prior to Talib's latest illustration to the world of his reactive, immature, and violent behavior.
  • avatar

    I'm a huge Iowa fan and as such i've had the opportunity to watch virtually every play in which Clayborn participated. Two seasons ago he was a monster. Last year, in my opinion, was a totally different story. Iowa finished with 5 losses. In every loss they either were tied or held the lead with under 5 minutes to play. The Hawks defense allowed every team to move, on average, 70 yards down the field to score a go ahead touchdown. The pass rush was a main reason for this. The defense managed to sack the opposing QB around 1-2 times total in all five games. Clayborn in particular looked tired and out of shape during these situations. As a fan, I was looking for this person to man up and have some type of heart. He made a total of ZERO impact plays with the game on the line last year. Not what coaches should want out of 1st round pick. I think his conditioning wouldn't fare well in Florida. If he was a non-factor at the end of games in Iowa, the Florida heat and humidity wouldn't at all be kind to him. I think the Bucs need to look at the Houston kid from Georgia, Kerrigan from Purdue, or Heyward from OSU. Being a Big Ten guy I can tell you that Heyward always stepped up when the game was on the line.
  • avatar

    Iowa all-Big Ten defensive end Adrian Clayborn has pleaded guilty to a lesser charge in a case involving a taxi driver. http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=4967988 Sounds just like Talib to me. How do you come to the conclusion that this guys has no character issues?
  • avatar

    I wouldn't rule out Dominik trading up or down from the 20th spot. If he can pull off a reasonable deal to trade up, I think he'll go after Kerrigan. If he trades down, Clayborn or Houston are in play. If he stays at #20, there's a good chance it's Clayborn. Either way, I don't have a preference as long as it's a player that can get after the QB. DE always seems like one of the hardest positions to evaluate and this years draft is full of them.
  • avatar

    I am not sold on this kid what so ever....watch the tape, its not like he dominated this line of scrimmage. Number's don't lie. 3.5 half sacks in college is very suspect. Although I do have faith in Mark and Rah, they have had 2 great drafts so I will give benefit of the doubt. I would prefer Kerrigan over all other DE's. His motor is something you can't teach in the league. If you do not have a motor by now, your not going to adapt it.
  • avatar

    I do care about the character of the Buc players, just not as much as most fans. To me it's a factor in adding a player, not the end all be all. However, I do put a great deal of emphasis on defensive players that can stop the run, especially in the front 7. Clayborn falls into that category as I have said since the season ended. We need instinctive, block shedding tacklers in the front 7 so in that regard I would support the selection of Clayborn. I'd prefer Houston and of course Kerrigan over Clayborn, but I still okay with Clayborn. It's simple: the more players of the 11 on the field that can stop the run, the better chance we have of stopping the run. Go Bucs!
  • avatar

    If the Bucs don't trade in the first round it's certain to be either Clayborn or Houston at #20. I'd give Carimi an outside shot, but not a huge one. For anyone who hates those two potential DE picks you should probably get used to it while you have time. There's a good possibility that's exactly how it does down.
  • avatar

    There is no perfect DE, a guaranteed not to bust super human that will be give you 15 or more sacks and is available at #20 (or at #1!). We may like this one over that one, but the reality is that if they pick up two half-assed decent DE's, it will still be a huge upgrade over what we have now. We just need to be better, not necessarily great at that position and there will be a lot more balance and success on defense. Hell if we got two that could start and got double digit sacks between them, we'd have a winner. Hopefully they'll also pick up a proven middling good DE in free agency as well.
  • avatar

    can we draft sam fuld?
  • avatar

    LOL. That man can play everywhere. Sign him!
  • avatar

    All I care about is that we draft players with no character issues, a desire to play harder than their skills, and they have no injuries to deal with. This has to be a risk free draft. We have so many holes to yet fill. I'm getting excited about this draft. I believe Dominick and Morris will go the conservative way and pick players with no issures. We need a DE, MLB, RT, Center, TE, CB in no particuliar order. Go Bucs! Trade down.
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