New Orleans Saints Draft 2011: Iowa DE Adrian Clayborn - a good fit?
With slow news on the NFL front in the midst of the 2011 Lockout, the New Orleans Saints are still working their way toward the draft later this month. Throughout a number of mock drafts across the internet and sports' shows, the Saints have been said to be taking a variety of names. Let's take a look at what one expert most recently has to say.
The Saints own the 24th pick in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft and for months my guess has been that they would turn to the defensive side of the ball. While the defense has improved in recnet years under defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, a few spots could stand to get a bit younger.
ESPN analyst Todd McShay's recent NFL Mock Draft also has the Saints going defensive so let's see who he takes off the board for New Orleans:
Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa
Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams likes to blitz but was forced to bring pressure more than he wanted last season because of a struggling pass rush. DE Alex Brown is entering his ninth NFL season but is coming off his lowest sack and tackle totals since his rookie year, and finding pass-rush help is certainly the Saints' top priority. Clayborn is a powerful, effective pass-rusher who could fall this far because of the depth of the defensive end class and concerns about a nerve condition that could limit the range of motion in his right arm, but New Orleans would be more than happy to take him here.
Quite honestly couldn't agree with this pick more. Clayborn is an absolute beast and one that could possibly step in to a starting position right away with a impressive training camp and preseason. Well, depending on when that happens of course.
Clayborn's numbers weren't great in his senior season as he finished with 52 total tackles and 3.5 sacks, but that was due to constant double teams thanks to a stellar junior year. As a junior, Clayborn racked up 70 total tackles (20 for loss) and 11.5 sacks. Great numbers.
The thing is that Clayborn has the explosiveness off the end to be a truly solid pass-rusher in the NFL which is what the Saints have been lacking for years. Will Smith is great on one side but hasn't had a decent bookend on the other for years. Charles Grant was declining a year or two before the Saints released him and he's now out of the league. Jimmy Wilkerson and Jeff Charleston fill in well, but aren't starters. And McShay hit the point I thought of all year and its that Alex Brown simply isn't as good as he used to be.
Let's not forget that there is a good possibility Smith could be suspended the first four games of the season meaning Charleston, along with Wilkerson, will likely have to play more than usual anyway. Switching around defensive ends repeatedly for the first four games won't spell good news as consistency is needed.
No, I haven't forgotten about Junior Galette either but the Saints sometimes threw him in at linebacker too so it will be interesting to see where he fits in come training camp. Honestly, my gut feeling is that Galette could be a great defensive end in the NFL if he adds about twenty pounds.
Clayborn's addition would add great depth and make for an awesome set of bookends for a defensive line that focuses on Sedrick Ellis, and now Shaun Rogers, in the middle. We just really have to hope that nerve condition affecting his right arm stays dormant.
More than likely there will be many more changes in mock drafts over the next four weeks, but so far this has been the best pick I've seen for the Saints and one I like a lot. Now we just have to get to having an NFL season.
The more I read about him, the more I like him.
He'd be a great pick. I've seen a lot of mocks with him being picked in the teens though.
CBS has him 17th best player. He reads more like a LDE than a RDE.
I'd rather have Wilkerson; more versatility
Kerrigan, Clayborn, or Houston would be fine with me. I like Wilkerson as well, but not as a pass rusher on the outside. Great fit in the middle though. I think his versatility to move out to end would be limited in our defense.
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