The Good, Bad and Ugly Of Adrian Clayborn

April 29th, 2011

Many readers know of and Joe’s proud partnership he has with Cork Gaines, the proprietor of the absolute best Rays blog on the interwebs, It just so happens that Cork, who grew up in Carrollwood, is a Hawkeye.

No matter where Cork is, whether it is New York or back home in the Tampa Bay area or his current residence in Austin, Tex., Cork always finds a way to watch his Hawkeyes, and the Bucs, each and every weekend.

So if anyone knows something about Bucs first round draft pick Adrian Clayborn, it’s Cork. He decided to put fingers to keyboard and bang out some quick thoughts on Clayborn’s selection by the Bucs.
After you read Cork’s missive, make sure to read his unmatched Rays musings on

By Cork Gaines

As a proud graduate of the University of Iowa, I did not miss a single play by Adrian Clayborn this year. So you can imagine that I am damn excited that he will be in a Bucs uniform this year. Here are a few thoughts on what I saw this past season…

THE GOOD: This guy is going to be an instant fan favorite. He is colorful and demonstrative. But he is also the “underdog” type. That is, he not a workout freak. He doesn’t have the best body. He is not the strongest guy and he is not the fastest. But his motor never stops. And every time you look up he has beat a bigger, stronger offensive lineman (or two) and is chasing the QB. He is a football player and he just has a knack for making plays.

THE BAD: Where you have to worry is that sometimes, grit and guts and determination can get you by in college, but not in the NFL. That being said, it was the Big Ten, so the offensive linemen Clayborn was beating were not slouches. There is some thought that he could really dominate in the NFL if he ever dedicated himself to get in shape. But how many guys suddenly morph into gym rats after they go to the NFL and get the big paycheck?

THE TELLING: If I had to pick one guy to compare Clayborn to, it would be Warren Sapp. Clayborn is not a physical specimen, but he is stronger than he looks, and has some deceptive quickness. He is a character and just seems to have a knack for getting to the quarterback. Sapp had his fair share of sacks. But how many more plays did we see where Sapp had broken through and forced the QB to scramble out of the pocket with Sapp on his heels? If Clayborn is playing well, we will see a lot of those.

As long as he makes plays, he will instantly be one of the most popular guys on the team and we will see a lot of “Clayborn” jerseys in the stands on Sundays.

19 Responses to “The Good, Bad and Ugly Of Adrian Clayborn”

  1. Pete Dutcher Says:

    But how many guys suddenly morph into gym rats after they go to the NFL and get the big paycheck?

    I would say nearly all linemen. They are entering a training regimend much more intense than college.

  2. Pete Dutcher Says:

    Love the Sapp comparison as well. That was the impression I got just of his personality and attitude.

    The cabby slapping incident sure does seem familiar ffor some reason…can’t seem to put my finger on why.

  3. BigMacAttack Says:

    I’m glad they got their man. I’m glad was a DE. I can’t help but wonder if Prince would have lasted 1 more slot if they would have picked him instead. I don’t know, but it sounds like they did their homework again.

  4. Chris FWC :) Says:

    Sapp was very strong through.

  5. Chris FWC :) Says:

    or though

  6. Bucc Fan In Hawkeye Country Says:

    I still haven’t stopped smiling.

  7. Apple Roof Cleaning Says:

    Both Sapp and John Lynch were football players, not bodybuilders. Same with Adrian. Tampa got a big player.

  8. Posey99 Says:

    The boy is gonna trim down in the florida heat, this aint iowa weather down here.

  9. Cork Says:

    @Chris FWC

    Clayborn is strong also, but it is a different strength. If I remember correctly, Sapp had incredible lower-body strength coming out of Miami. That allowed him to bullrush o-linemen and power through double-teams. Clayborn has more upper-body strength and lower-body quickness. So Clayborn is not going to go through a lot of players. He will need his strong arms to create separation and then speed around the tackle. He also has quick, nimble feet. He loves the spin move.

    Anyway, I think both guys are/were stronger than people gave them credit for. But with Sapp it was better suited for the interior line while Clayborn’s strength makes him a more ideal as an edge rusher.

  10. Dave Says:

    Nice read.

    There are a lot of gym rats and “physical specimans” who never pan out (ask Gruden). I would rather look at film and take a football player.

    He will get stronger in the NFL regardless. Besides, what made Sapp seem stronger than he was is the same thing that Clayborne utilizes: quickness and leverage. Same with McCoy come to think of it.

  11. BigMacAttack Says:

    Personally, I love this pick. It addresses a need with high motor player. I think today will bring more exciting news for the Bucs. I don’t think the Bucs fear either Julio Jones or Mark Ingram, both good players. Atlanta should not have mortgaged the farm and their future on one receiver. Atlanta thinks they are better than they really are, and so they think one player will put them over the top. I don’t see that at all, with ATL having some older players on the decline. The Saints did well with Ingram, but I don’t think he will be any more of a problem than any other top RB in the NFL, if his knee holds up. I like how Dominick is patient and calculating, as he said, let the Draft come to him.

    Hats off to the Browns for taking Atlanta to the cleaners, and then bending them over behind the wood shed. “What the Hell were we thinking?”

  12. becks Says:

    Initialy hated the pick. really thought they were going to go after Cam Jordan or even Bowers. But after thinking about it well into the morning and reading the articles on this site and others i believe the Bucs made the right pick with who was available. Glad we didnt trade the farm like Atlanta to move up and reach for a player, i also believe that with atlanta getting another future pro bowler at wide reciever the bucs will have no choice but to keep talib or sign nnamdi. or even both 😉

  13. Chris FWC :) Says:

    To Cork:

    I agree, both are football players not body builders or models. Throw all attributes out the window if the guy produces. I don’t care if a guy can jump 38 inches. I care about shutting down the run/pass, sacks and game changing plays.

    In these cases Tarzan plays like Tarzan.
    War: “Rambo” Clayborn

  14. New Era Bucs Says:

    Yeah I still can’t believe Atlanta gave up that much for a reciever, never mind the fact he drops Easy passes. Also was wondering what the chances of the Bucs sigining Reggie Bush after the Saints release him and his 11 million dollar salary.

  15. Chris FWC :) Says:

    @New Era

    I’d love to see Reggie Bush here but not for that much.

  16. derek Says:

    nice insight into clayborn joe its nice to hear from someone who seems to really know his game. so whats with all these rambo posts im seeing is that clayborns nickname?

  17. Joe Says:


    Raheem referred to Clayborn as “Rambo” last night.

  18. New Era Bucs Says:

    @chris yeah for sure but I meant that with Reggie’s contract growing to 11 mill this year they will probably cut him now with Ingram on board

  19. Chris FWC :) Says:

    @ NewEra Yeah I think N.O. cuts him now they got Ingram. I’d love to see him in Pewter and Red.

    Caddy, Blount, Bush