Adrian Clayborn Under The MicroscopeJanuary 16th, 2014
The Bucs need heat on quarterbacks in the worst way.
How badly? Well, Joe can only imagine it’s like being parched on a broiling July afternoon in dire need of a cold beer but finding himself trapped in a dry county.
When then-rockstar general manager Mark Dominik drafted Adrian Clayborn in the first round in 2011, the Bucs had high hopes for him at right defense. But the past two years have been pretty much a waste.
Clayborn missed most of the 2012 season with a nasty knee injury and then was imprisoned in the silly Sheridan Stunts defense, where he was put in all sorts of weird, concocted stunts, ones that took him out of plays on loops. Former Bucs defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan even once devised a foolish move to actually have Clayborn guard one of the fastest running backs in the league, Darren Sproles, on passing downs.
Joe isn’t so sure Timothy Leary could dream up such nonsense.
Joe seemed to believe Clayborn was playing better in the final weeks of the season, as not everybody can be Adrian Peterson and bounce back from knee surgery in a year.
One thing new Bucs defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier is doing is trying to find the best fit and the best way to use Clayborn, so Frazier said yesterday in his introductory press conference at One Buc Palace.
“I want to continue to study him a little bit,” Frazier said when asked about Clayborn. “He’s one of those guys, along with the rest of our roster, we are spending some time on to get a good feel for and make sure we do the right thing by him. I do remember him coming out of college. [Frazier and the Vikings] were scouting him. I had a lot of respect for his play at the University of Iowa. I want to get a better feel for him as an NFL player. We will continue to go through the tape and get an eval on him.”
What Frazier and Lovie Smith see of Clayborn in the coming weeks will directly influence personnel decisions by the Bucs. If Frazier and Lovie believe Clayborn still has the skillset to rush the quarterback off the edge in the NFL, they may decide not to draft another defensive end.
If Frazier and the Bucs believe Clayborn just needs pushing, perhaps Frazier reaches out to Jared Allen, who played for him in Minnesota, to see how much if anything is left in his tank.
Or, if Frazier and Lovie believe Clayborn is nothing more than a backup, perhaps a player in the draft like Notre Dame’s Stephon Tuitt will fall in the lap of the Bucs, in addition to a free agent pick up at defensive end?