Adrian Clayborn- 2011 Draft Scouting Report


Iowa Senior defensive end Adrian Clayborn is the among the most polished players of all of the 3-4 defensive ends from this year’s draft class. 2011 will be the greatest class of 3-4 defensive ends in the history in the draft (mostly because the 3-4 defense is becoming so popular), and Clayborn is among the best.

Clayborn has natural physical tools. Clayborn has excellent height, good bulk, and above average athleticism for his size. He also possesses long arms, and above average upper body and lower body strength. He also possesses excellent quickness, and good change of direction skills.

Clayborn puts up very good numbers. In 2009, he got 63 tackles and 11 sacks, emerging as a pass rusher last year after 50 tackles and 2 sacks during sophomore year. In 2010, he really regressed as a pass rusher, getting only 4 sacks, but still managed to be an effective run stopper getting 52 tackles. He also has deflected an above average 7 passes in his career. From what I have seen, he has been a pretty consistent player throughout his career at Iowa in a game-by-game basis as well as a play-by-play basis.

Clayborn has natural quickness and reaction ability. He has solid anticipation of the snap, he has good quickness off the ball, he has good change of direction skills, and he has excellent suddenness and arm quickness when using pass rush moves.

Clayborn has solid instincts. He typically doesn’t over commit on misdirections or screen passes, but I occasionally see him out of position on play actions. He also can read and react to plays quickly, and he takes excellent angles to opposing ball carriers in pursuit.

Clayborn provides a solid array of pass rush moves. He uses his hands extremely well in order to shed blocks, he possesses excellent form on his speed and bull rush, and he provides excellent suddenness in defensive line stunts.

Clayborn is an excellent tackler. His tackling fundamentals are perfect, he possesses the arm strength to make improbable arm tackles, and his overall fundamentals are excellent. He is also an extremely hard hitter that can force fumbles.

Clayborn’s main concern are character issues. He was arrested on assault charges in 2009 after punching a cab driver, and a woman was arrested for stalking him later in the year. But, I think his character concerns are a little overrated; he is clearly a hard worker that puts a lot of effort onto the field, contributing to his production. He seems to be dedicated to football and he has a strong work ethic. Normally, if a player seems really dedicated to football, I become more forgiving of his character concerns because they won’t usually affect his on field production. I really don’t think his character concerns are that big of a deal.

Overall, Clayborn is a player with natural talent and that plays outstanding on field intensity. I think he would be a pretty safe pick, because of his combination of talent and excellent football fundamentals. A very good player, who will succeed at the NFL level.

NFL Comparison: Julius Peppers, with less height and athleticism but a little bit more on field intensity.

Grade: 94 (worthy of a mid-first round pick)

Projection: 94 (will be a mid-first round pick)

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