2011 NFL Draft: Philadelphia Eagles Prospect, Iowa Defensive End Adrian Clayborn

Mike BurkeCorrespondent IMarch 30, 2011

TEMPE, AZ - DECEMBER 28:  Defensive end Adrian Clayborn #94 of the Iowa Hawkeyes during the Insight Bowl against the Missouri Tigers at Sun Devil Stadium on December 28, 2010 in Tempe, Arizona. The Hawkeyes defeated the Tigers 27-24.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

In the 2010 NFL draft, the Eagles traded up to the 13th overall selection to draft Michigan defensive end Brandon Graham.  After being named the opening-day starter, Graham eventually lost his spot to Juqua Parker.  Graham played pretty well for a rookie, but failed to put up the kind of numbers fans hoped he would during his 2010 campaign.  To make things worse, he had his season ended early due to an ACL injury.

In 2011, could the Eagles go after another defensive end in the first round?  There are a lot of talented defensive ends who will end up being taken in the first round.  One of them is Iowa defensive end Adrian Clayborn.

Clayborn stands at 6’3”, 281 pounds, so he's a bit bigger than the defensive ends the Eagles typically look for.  However, Clayborn is able to use his size to his advantage in his style of play.  He loves to use his hands to get into a blocker and dictate which way he'd like to go.  This makes him very solid against the run.

He's not the quickest player, and from what I've seen, he doesn't get off the ball too fast.  However, he is able to quickly hold his ground when engaged and keeps his eyes in the backfield.  Once he has an understanding of the play, he is able to use his strength to throw away blockers and begin his pursuit.

Something I think he'll have to work on more if he wants to be a star in the NFL is his technique.  In college, he was able to rely a lot on his strength and athleticism to beat blockers and make plays in the backfield.  It won't be as easy in the NFL, as he'll see much more talented blockers.

Clayborn's prospect status diminished a bit over the course of his senior season as he wasn't able to match the phenomenal numbers he put up his junior year.  In 2009, he registered 63 tackles and 11 sacks.  In 2010, he registered 52 tackles and just four sacks.

Clearly, you have to factor the extra attention he received his senior year after really putting himself on the map as a junior.  He was still a disruptive force as a senior, so I really don't buy too much into him having a "down" year.

Again, I have to say that Clayborn is a little bit of a different player than the Eagles typically look for at defensive end.  However, he's a solid player, and I think he could be used effectively in the Eagles system.

Clayborn has the ability to line up on the edge and be a great run stopper, but is versatile enough to move into the middle as a pass rusher, something the Eagles like to do with their defensive ends.

An additional tidbit on Clayborn involves his status for the NFL draft.  There has been a lot of talk about draft prospects boycotting attending the NFL draft.  However, Clayborn has said that he received an invite to the draft and will indeed attend.

Below, view highlights of Clayborn against Ohio State.