Adrian Clayborn

2011 First Round Draft Pick Adrian Clayborn

After a better-than-expected 10-6 won-loss mark and just missing the playoffs in the 2010 season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers addressed their most glaring need in the 2011 NFL Draft by selecting defensive end Adrian Clayborn of Iowa in the first round, 20th overall.

The Buccaneers had the second-worst defense versus the run in the NFC last season, surrendering an average of 131.7 yards per game. Obviously they are hoping Clayborn can quickly adapt to the faster pro game and become not only a premier pass rusher but also make a difference in stopping the run. Clayborn has exceptionally good hands, which will serve him well when attempting to shed opposing blockers. He's also noted for giving 110% on every play and won't give up, even when he's not directly involved in the action.

Clayborn was the emotional leader of the Iowa defense, both on and off the field. A team captain, Clayborn drew praise from his coaches for his strong work ethic and character. The St. Louis native has overcome many obstacles in his life, most notably being born with Erb's Palsy, a condition affecting the nerves surrounding his shoulder. Despite this often debilitating disorder, Clayborn took on grueling physical therapy very early and overcame the affliction. The young man also experienced personal tragedy when his older brother was murdered when Adrian was 10 years old.

Clayborn attended Webster Groves High School in St. Louis, and was a four-year letterman in both basketball and football, being named Missouri Player of the Year in 2005. He also made All-State in football his junior and senior seasons.

Choosing to attend the University of Iowa, Clayborn enjoyed a stellar collegiate career, culminating by being named first-team All-American after his senior season. In addition, the 6'3 281 lb. Clayborn was named first-team All Big Ten. In the 2009 Orange Bowl, he was awarded the game's MVP Trophy.

Tampa Bay added another standout defensive lineman with their second-round selection, serving notice that they recognize the need to shore up their defensive front. Clemson's Da'Quan Bowers, also a first-team All-American, was picked 51st overall. Bowers, who had been considered a possible #1 overall pick as recently as February, underwent knee surgery in January for a torn meniscus in his right knee, apparently raising concerns about his recovery among scouts.

Playing in the NFC South, which has a wealth of elite running backs such as DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart at Carolina, Michael Turner at Atlanta, and Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas at New Orleans, makes a stout run defense a priority, one the Bucs hopefully strengthened with their newest acquisitions.


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