The draft is full of promising prospects on the defensive line, and the Patriots are in position to take a good one with any of their first three picks. If they wait a little bit, they might have their sights set on a guy like Adrian Clayborn from Iowa.
The 6-foot-3, 281-pounder had his best season as a junior in 2009 with 11.5 sacks, 20 tackles for loss and four forced fumbles. As a senior in 2010, Clayborn had 3.5 sacks and seven tackles for loss.
Why the Patriots Would Want Him
Clayborn is an explosive player who projects to play defensive end in both the 3-4 and 4-3, and he showed tremendous potential as a junior. Clayborn’s stock has dropped, so if the Patriots believe they can channel his 2009 prowess, they could get a great deal.
Why the Patriots Might Stay Away
Clayborn really wasn’t all that impressive in 2010, and he didn’t do a lot to stick out after a monstrous junior season. He also only had 17 bench press reps during a pre-draft workout, and that’s a startling low number for a player in the trenches. In addition, Clayborn was born with Erb's palsy, which affected his shoulder during his childhood, but Clayborn has claimed it's no longer an issue. Even still, that might scare a team away.
Potential Impact in 2011
Clayborn would compete to earn starting reps at defensive end alongside Vince Wilfork and Ty Warren. At the very least, he would join a rotation with Mike Wright, Ron Brace and Marcus Stroud. If Clayborn plays at his potential, he could be a valuable member along that front.
What The Locals Are Saying
After losing one son in a murder, Clayborn’s mother has remained extra close with him.
Where Can the Patriots Expect to Draft Clayborn?
He’ll definitely be there at No. 17, but it’s unclear how far he could fall from there. Some analysts believe he’ll go in the 20s, while others don’t believe he’s a first-rounder at all. If there is a trading frenzy for quarterbacks in the bottom third of the first round, Clayborn would likely slip into the second day of the draft. If that’s the case, he could be a good option at No. 33.
Every day through April 28, NESN.com will spotlight one player the Patriots could draft with one of their first three picks.
Friday, April 1: California defensive end Cameron Jordan
Saturday, April 2: North Carolina defensive end/outside linebacker Robert Quinn
Sunday, April 3: Ohio State defensive lineman Cameron Heyward
Monday, April 4: Alabama wide receiver Julio Jones
Tuesday, April 5: Nebraska cornerback Prince Amukamara
Wednesday, April 6: Alabama running back Mark Ingram
Thursday, April 7: Boston College tackle Anthony Castonzo
Friday, April 8: Florida interior lineman Mike Pouncey
Saturday, April 9: Wisconsin tackle Gabe Carimi
Sunday: April 10: Georgia defensive end/outside linebacker Justin Houston
Monday, April 11: Clemson defensive end Da’Quan Bowers
Tuesday, April 12: Wisconsin defensive end J.J. Watt
Wednesday, April 13: UCLA outside linebacker Akeem Ayers
Thursday, April 14: USC tackle Tyron Smith
Friday, April 15: Baylor nose tackle Phil Taylor
Saturday, April 16: Mississippi State tackle Derek Sherrod
Sunday, April 17: Colorado cornerback Jimmy Smith
Monday, April 18: Illinois running back Mikel Leshoure
Tuesday, April 19: Villanova offensive lineman Benjamin Ijalana
Wednesday, April 20: Temple defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson
Thursday, April 21: Purdue defensive end/outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan
Friday, April 22: Pittsburgh wide receiver Jonathan Baldwin
Saturday, April 23: Colorado tackle Nate Solder
Sunday, April 24: Baylor guard Danny Watkins
Monday, April 25, Illinois defensive lineman Corey Liuget
Tuesday, April 26: Iowa defensive end Adrian Clayborn
Wednesday, April 27: Pittsburgh defensive end/outside linebacker Jabaal Sheard