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New Orleans Saints Draft 2011: Iowa DE Adrian Clayborn - a good fit?

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; 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' ...

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Old 04-04-2011, 04:53 PM   #1
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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.


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Old 04-04-2011, 09:07 PM   #2
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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.

Pass rush: Strong pass rusher able to rips off blocks with violent hands to get the corner. Good closing speed to the quarterback, even after absorbing a big punch from offensive tackles off the snap. Able to break down in space to get his hands on ballcarriers. Tight ends and fullbacks have little chance to handle his strength and strong punch on the edge. Will pause his pass rush to knock a running back off his route into the flat and continue on his path to the quarterback. Pass rush comes from strength and hustle, not an explosive first step that allows him to turn the corner. Does not have counter rush moves and will not be able to swipe aside most starting NFL tackles. Appeared less sudden and relentless in 2010.

Run defense: Active and stout run defender who stays square to the line of scrimmage and often gives a second and third effort. Plays with leverage, able to stack tackles and shed in either direction using strong hands to get to the ballcarrier -- even if pushed off the line a bit by stronger tackles. Feels cut blocks, keeps his eyes up and uses his hands well. Uses his hands to use tackles' momentum against them. Flows through traffic, keeps his feet moving, and separates from linemen with active hands on inside runs. Lowers his shoulder to anchor against pulling guards behind the line to help linebackers stay free. Consistently keeps contain on his side of the line, especially against mobile quarterbacks, and is able to change direction to chase down backs going for the sideline. Lack of height allows larger tackles to engulf him.

Explosion: Doesn't have the typical explosive first step of most rush ends because of his girth and lack of ideal height. He is considered an explosive player against the run and pass, because he has one of the strongest punches and most effective hands in the class.

Strength: Uses his low center of gravity and strong upper and lower body to play with great leverage. Consistently leverages blockers and disengages from blocks with strong and violent hands. Lacks height to block field goals but provides good push and penetration inside; also a factor on punts as protectors cannot handle his strength and quickness.

Tackling: A solid tackler who is very active and stays square and low, but his technique is not always sound. Strong arms allow him to be explosive when coming straight on and force fumbles by ripping or simply creating a big impact. Punches blockers in space to keep them from latching on, stays alive to make a play. Doesn't have great length and will often slip or bounce off ballcarriers; his initial impact might be strong enough to bring down college running back, but NFL runners might have more success staying alive.

Intangibles: Unquestioned emotional leader of the Iowa defense on and off the field. Named a permanent team captain and praised by coaches for his character and work ethic. Teams will check out nerves in his right arm and neck to ensure the Erb's Palsy he suffered at birth is a non-issue. Charged with assaulting an Iowa City taxi driver in January 2009 after reportedly confronting a taxi driver who honked his horn in a traffic jam. Pled guilty to misdemeanor disorderly conduct in March 2010, but was not suspended by Iowa coaches because they felt the situation required only minor internal penalties.
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Old 04-05-2011, 12:01 AM   #3
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I'd rather have Wilkerson; more versatility
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Old 04-05-2011, 02:32 PM   #4
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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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Old 04-08-2011, 03:30 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by BRSaintsFan View Post
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.
GW could take any one of these guys and make them a superstar!!!
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