The Buccaneers selected defensive end Adrian Clayborn from the University of Iowa with the 20th overall pick Thursday night.
At Iowa, Clayborn registered 192 tackles with 19 sacks and 37.5 total tackles for loss. He was extremely effective against the run, limiting runners to 0.99 yards per carry in plays in which he made a tackle. He was a consensus 2010 All-American, All-Big Ten 1st team member, and a two-time team captain for Iowa. He had a breakout junior season in which he tallied 11 sacks. However, he registered only 3.5 sacks his senior season.
Much of that decrease can be attributed to extra attention he received after his productive junior season.
“Teams knew that my play was still there,” Clayborn said. “The numbers were down a little bit from double-teaming and stuff like that, but it wasn’t a concern. My motor was still going and my skills were still there. It wasn’t like I lost my step.”
And it’s the aforementioned motor as to what impressed GM Mark Dominik the most.
“His motor,” Dominik said. “He will go full blown every play as long as he can and as hard as he can. You’ll see that. I’m looking forward to our fans seeing this guy play in pewter and red because he’s going to be a guy that really attacks the football field, attacks the runner. He has some very physical hits. Very good finisher. He’s got good change of direction. We’re really excited about it. He’s going to be a productive player for us and I know he’s going to make us a better team up front and it all does start up front in terms of attacking the quarterback.”
According to Dominik, Clayborn is a physical player who will help both in the run game and as a pass rusher.
“He’s a physical player. He’s really explosive inside with his hands. He’s able to control tackles and shed, and then make tackles. He’s going to help us in the run game as much as he is in the passing game. He’s one of those guys that, again, you want to finish a game, whether we win or lose, we want people to remember they played the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. We feel like he’s one of those type of players that after you’re done, you’re going to know you played Adrian Clayborn, because he’s going to give you a tough 60 minutes.”
Dominik says Clayborn will play at right defensive end in the Buccaneer defense.
Although Cameron Jordan and DeQuan Bowers were still on the board, Dominik and Raheem Morris felt that Clayborn was their guy.
“One of the guys we had highly touted on our board, and at the time our highest-touted guy on the board,” Morris said. “When he came here a couple of weeks ago, we looked at each other and both knew that was the guy. You can’t get overexuberant about it. You’ve gotta pick the guy when he’s there, and be prepared for what you’re gonna do if he’s not. We’re excited about it.”
Clayborn has battled Erb’s Palsy throughout his life, a debilitating injury to the nerves in his right shoulder that has caused some loss of movement. However, Clayborn has obviously learned how to compensate for it and play with it successfully.
He joins Gerald McCoy and Brian Price on a young Buccaneer defensive line looking to improve upon a ranking of 30th in sacks generated in 2010.
The second round of the draft begins Friday at 6:00 pm ET.