Adrian Clayborn > Will Gholston?

June 28th, 2014

Might Will Gholston’s versatility work against him?

When the Bucs were playing underwear football this spring, Bucs fans got excited. Joe understands. When NFL teams gather, fans, starved for football, lap up any morsel of action they can find.

Problem is, it is underwear football.

Joe got plenty of questions asking about play of safeties and linebackers, and how the defensive line was rushing the quarterback.

Sadly, defenses can’t hit in underwear football (think touch football wearing only a helmet for protection). So it was virtually impossible to get a true idea of how the defense played.

While multimedia maven Scott Smith of admits as such, and agrees it is way too early for a fair judgment who will start at left defensive end, Adrian Clayborn or Will Gholston, Smith seems to think Gholston’s versatility may work against him in winning a starting job.

I think what it comes down to, however, is that Smith and company want to generate pressure with the front four alone as much as possible, and as such they’re going to want the four best pass-rushers on the field as often as they can have it. Clayborn has not yet emerged as a breakout pass-rushing star, but he had 7.5 as a rookie and 5.5 last year (sandwiched around a season on the DL), and I think he’s currently more of a polished rusher than Gholston. Gholston, with his ability to play inside and outside, might serve the team better as a versatile reserve who sees a good number of snaps in order to keep everyone fresh.

Joe cannot argue with this. It’s sound logic Smith is using. Keeping guys fresh under the brutal Florida sun is key in the first two months of the season, if not beyond.

Gholston seems to be able to pass rush from tackle just as well as he does defensive end. Obviously, Clayborn is a defensive end only, even though the previous coaching regime under then-commander Greg Schiano thought Clayborn was a cornerback who could cover Darren Sproles on pass plays.

So if the Bucs coaches this season think Clayborn is as good as or maybe just a bit better than Gholston, Clayborn may get the nod as a starting defensive end because Gholston gives the Bucs versatility.

18 Responses to “Adrian Clayborn > Will Gholston?”

  1. Bird Says:

    Yah but clayborn can rush from the inside too. It’s just a matter of keeping guys fresh and having 4 studs rushing qb at once. Clayborn has that motor and will get plenty of snaps in new defense. Can’t wait to see this dline in action for 1st time in a long time.

  2. Brandon Says:

    Clayborn has not yet emerged as a breakout pass-rushing star, but he had 7.5 as a rookie and 5.5 last year (sandwiched around a season on the DL),

    Pretty sure in football, “DL” stands for defensive line, not disabled list. I think you mean “IR”.

  3. BuccaneerBonzai Says:


    Depends on the context it is used in.

    I’m not even 100% sold on Michaael Johnson. He hasn’t been consistent.

    Clayborn would become the starting RDE if Johnson goes down.

    Frankly, I don’t feel the defensive line was all that bad the last 2 years. Thee coaching was, but when they weree allowed to just get after the qb, they did better.

    Don’t get me wrong. I like the improvements and Clayborn on the left might just save his career. If Johnson earns his pay, the dline could be great. I think we’re all hoping for another Rice kind of improvement.

  4. RastaMon Says:


  5. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Maybe we can move Clayborn to CB if Banks goes down…..perhaps safety or WR since Clayborn has such a motor….

  6. Joe Says:

    That was Scott Smith on the “DL” lingo. He was having some baseball-season fun.

  7. The_Buc_Realist Says:

    Maybe the Bucs should move Clayborn to the bench until his contract runs out, ( this year ) and get some real DE that can put pressure on the Qb.

  8. Jim Walker Says:

    Ignore the sacks. Look at Clayborne’s play. Watch the Rams and Buffalo game in particular. He showed ZERO effort.

  9. Chef Paul Says:


    There isn’t a commenter’s opinion on this site I respect more than yours. I’ve seen you go against the grain so many times, and end up being right more often than not. It’s gotten to the point where your opinion influences mine.

    That being said, I hate, HATE how you dont like Clayborn’s play. I sure am hoping this is a rare time you are flat out wrong, and Clayborn plays at a Pro Bowl level this year and many more to come. I can’t think with my brain when it comes to Clayborn. I can only think with my heart, so it’s not really an unbiased opinion.

  10. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    @ Chef Paul

    I have found that the Realist’s disdain for Dominick influences his opinion on players. While I agree with his opinion on the “Pop Star’s” performance….i view many of his posts as an attack on Dominick via the player.

  11. Chris Says:

    I can’t say I was the biggest Clayborn fan when he was drafted. I thought he was more of a 3-4 de who can stop the run and free up speed rushers and push the pocket. He’s a bull rusher with limited pass rush ability and technique.

    Love his motor And who knows maybe he can develop under lovie.

  12. biff barker Says:

    It’s 2014. You pretty much need 7 starters on a DL.

    Some just start earlier in the game. That’s all.

    I can’t see any downside when guys like Gholson and McDonald play inside or outside.

  13. The_Buc_Realist Says:

    I will lay out the reasons of why Clayborn won’t work well in Lovie’s defense.

    1.) He plays best a little heavy because strength not speed is his best asset. His best set up moves are, bull-rush, bull-rush then i rip inside move or swim moves to the out-side. then he attacks the qb. The problem with this is more plays then not when single rushing is that his hand are tied up.

    2.) In Lovie’s defense, he loves, “LOVES” big tall DE with huge wingspans. Stay in the passing lanes and keep the long arms up!!! ( this is another clayborn drawback)

    3.) Then the main reason he will not be here next year. The second contract. The Bucs will have some pretty big dollars in the Defensive Line due to free agents and GMC. What is the wiser course of action, giving Clayborn a decent second contract, or cost control with a draft pick that is more in the prototype with more potential.

    How many times do we have to say that this will be (fill in the blank) players year. At some point you have to stop rolling someone out on the field and give some others a chance. This reminds me of the Trueblood problem. He is not the worst player in the league but he is the weak link on the line, But you always have other areas of “need” so the issue never gets resolved.

  14. biff barker Says:

    Realist, pretty much spot on with Clayborn. The evidence is Johnson, lean, long, twitchy. I do think he can still give us some quality snaps though.

  15. Buc the Haters Says:

    I do like Clayborn alot, personally, but I agree that he’s not the protypical DE in this defense. I think Gholston will evolve into our ‘franchise’ LDE in due time.

  16. CLW JB Says:

    Greg spires was 6’1″ 265 and started for 6 very effective years. Same type of player, I think AC fits perfect – Gholdson is also a perfect fit to play inside and out on rotation – when this defense works best you have chuck Darby and Marcus jones and those types supplementing your stars…we have a lot of the same types of parts

  17. Rob Says:

    The best thing that could happen to the Bucs would be for Clayborn to get over that knee injury, and live up to his draft status under Lovie Smith.

    Same could be said about Bowers, although it’s not looking likely. Any contributions Gholston makes are a bonus, whether he becomes a rotational guy, a solid starter, or a Pro-Bowler.

  18. Tiny Tim Says:

    In the bucs cover 2 scheme, they have always had a player who could play inside as well as on the end. Ellis Wyms, Dewayne White, Marcus Jones etc. all come to mind.