How They Would Fit: The Adrian Clayborn Edition

Well, here we are again. Another installment of How They Would Fit. In this edition I want to look at DE, specifically Adrian Clayborn. Now, there hasn't been much talk about him around here, which is kinda understandable for two reasons:

1. He is not a "prototypical" 3-4 DE

2. He is ranked right around the 20th spot by most updated mocks. (Draft Tek Seriously? Oct of last year? Longball, you need to talk to someone about that)

However, I would like to talk about him as he would be a nice target if Dallas were to trade down from #9. Or trade up from #40, either way. But first let's get the disclaimer out of the way:

Disclaimer: This series is looking at specific players and how they would fit into the Dallas roster using the current roster as a baseline.  Any opinions expressed are my opinions only and do not reflect the opinions of the Dallas Cowboys, SB Nation or their affiliates. :end Disclaimer.

Now here is Adrian's profile via NFL Draft Scout:

Name: Adrian Clayborn 
College: Iowa    
Height: 6-3   Weight: 281 
Position: DE  Pos2: DT
40 Time: 4.78     
Projected Round: 1  Stock:     
Rated number 5 out of 161 DE's     17 / 2431 TOTAL

Combine Invite: Yes
Height: 6025
Weight: 281
40 Yrd Dash: 4.78
20 Yrd Dash: 2.69
10 Yrd Dash: 1.61

Vertical Jump: 33

Broad Jump: 09'05"

20 Yrd Shuttle: 4.13

3-Cone Drill: 7.30

225 Lb. Bench Reps: 17

Vertical Jump: 35 1/2

Broad Jump: 09'06"

3-Cone Drill: 7.08


The one thing that stood out for me was his Short Shuttle/3-cone drill time- 4.13(SS)/7.08(3-Cone). Impressive. Then I noticed his Vertical and Long jump 35.5 (vert.)/ 9'06"(long). Equally impressive, especially for a kid that is 6-3, 280.

Now, Dallas has two players that put up Numbers similar to these, Demarcus Ware and Jay Ratliff...So for this exercise, here are Jay Ratliff's numbers:

Name: Jay Ratliff 
College: Auburn    
Height: 6-4   Weight: 292 
Position: DE  Pos2: DT
40 Time: 4.85      40 Low:    40 High:  
Projected Round: 5-6  Stock:     
Rated number 20 out of 93 DE's     183 / 1451 TOTAL

Combine Invite: no

Height: 6-3

Weight: 292

Dates: 03/21/2005 
Height: 6-3
Weight: 292
40 Yrd Dash: 4.85
20 Yrd Dash: 
10 Yrd Dash: 
225 Lb. Bench Reps: 26
Vertical Jump: 33 1/2
Broad Jump: 9'9"
20 Yrd Shuttle: 4.23
3-Cone Drill: 7.35


Notice the similarities, both are "undersized" at 6-3 and <300lbs. However, both have excellent quickness with Ratliff posting a 4.2 SS time vs a 4.13 for Clayborn and explosiveness with Ratliff posting a 33.5" Vertical and Adrian posting a 35.5 " Vertical. Now the only issue with Clayborn is his strength, posting "only" 17 reps of 225, with 32.5 inch long arms vs 26 reps for Ratliff.  

Now let's see the Scouting report on Adrian Clayborn (via Wes Bunting)

A thick, well-built defensive lineman with a strong lower half who has the ability to consistently anchor vs. blocks when run at. Is very balanced and coordinated on the move, extending his arms into contact and consistently playing off opposing linemen. Is a real stack and shed guy who displays a powerful punch at the point. Is really tough to get into off the line, extends his arms well into opposing linemen while maintaining his balance and working his way toward the ball carrier. 

Isn't the most explosive guy initially off the snap as a pass rusher and isn't going to threaten the edge at the next level. However, for such a big defensive end, he exhibits impressive nimbleness and lateral agility to break off a sudden inside move off his initial outside pass rush. Exhibits a quick arm over with the ability to cleanly change directions and gain a step inside. However, allows his pad level to rise and will lose balance, giving athletic offensive tackles a chance to push him past the play. But has a powerful base and can really generate a jolt on contact as a bull rusher. However, it's his balance, body control and ability to gain leverage on contact that allows him to be so effective disengaging in the pass game. Isn't simply a push/pull guy as his lateral quickness paired with his power allow him to consistently shed on contact.

Impression: Isn't your prototypical speed rusher. However, he's a guy who can win on first, second and third down for you at the next level at either defensive end spots.Looks like a potential ten-year vet.

Now, Wes is fairly respected in the BTB community, so if he says that a guy will be a ten year vet that can contribute on all three downs, I tend to listen.

Now that we know who Adrian is, this begs the question: How would he fit? Well, I see him as a Ratliff type player. Someone that could line up at DE and consistently beat any one -on -one situations. Now, I admit that he is undersized at 280, however, with his quickness and explosion, he would pair up well with Jay and Bowen to form a formidable Defensive Line. He would easily upgrade the RDE spot,where the"Dancing Bear" currently resides, and where his speed and quickness would be more effective vs the "big guards" that most NFL Teams use.

Here is a video of Clayborn against BTB favorite Gabe Carimi. 

Gabe Carimi vs. Adrian Clayborn (via AloAloysius)

Notice that Clayborn (#94) is able to consistently get pressure on the QB. While he may not get to him every time, Carimi does have a tough time dealing with Clayborn's quickness.

So if Clayborn is within range (2-3 picks) Should Dallas take him? IF Dallas where to trade down too far and miss the top OT's would Clayborn be an acceptable substitute? Let me know in the comments.

As always I invite any comment/criticisms. No poll this time, but feel free to sound of in the comments.

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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