Gil Brandt Impressed With Adrian ClaybornApril 29th, 2011
OK, Joe has read all the excuses people are piling on about Bucs first round draft pick Adrian Clayborn and why he didn’t have a good senior season: He was overrated. He didn’t play against anyone (Joe had to pick himself up off the floor after reading that). He has a baby arm. He punched a cabbie.
Seems as though Gil Brandt is laughing like Joe.
Brandt, who was the architect of the famed “America’s Team” of the 1970s Dallas Cowboys, makes a good living as an NFL analyst for NFL.com, Sirius NFL Radio and still pulls in a paycheck from the NFL.
Brandt, as he told the Iowa Hawkeyes blog BlackHeartsGoldPants.com, fell in love with Clayborn’s motor after a come-from-behind loss to Northwestern in Chicago on the last week of the season.
“I just happened to be looking at the (2010) Northwestern game,” said Brandt, who spent three decades as the vice president of player personnel with the Dallas Cowboys. “I thought at the end of the game, when the game was on the line, he came from the right side, the quarterback’s backside, and he was really hustling to make a play. I think that’s a good mark when you see a guy late in the year, who’s gotten a lot of accolades — rightfully so — and he’s working hard to be a better player.
“You classify that as a hustle play or a competitive play. That play meant a lot to me as far as evaluating.”
Clayborn didn’t get to Northwestern’s Dan Persa on that play. He was a split-second late. Persa threw a touchdown pass that lifted the Wildcats to a 21-17 victory last November.
But that’s not the point to Brandt. What he saw was Clayborn — whose hustle as a senior was questioned in recent months in the NFL draft blogosphere — playing with max effort on the 82nd snap of the season’s 10th game.
Call Joe what you will, but Joe enjoyed the 3:30 p.m. Saturday Big Ten games and the noon games on Big Ten Network when he wasn’t distracted by Courtney the Bartender, of course. Clayborn showed Joe enough smarts and enough big plays that gives Joe reason to believe he has a chance to be a force with the Bucs.