Clayborn is currently "mocked" to be the Atlanta Falcons 2011 1st round pick by Wes Bunting of www.NationalFootballPost.com, both Chad Reuter, and Rob Rang of www.NFLDraftScout.com, and Don Banks of www.CNNSI.com, making him one of the more popular choices by the "experts".
Adrian Clayborn busted loose in 2009 with one of the best defensive seasons in the nation: 70 tackles, 11.5 sacks, 20 tackles for loss and four forced fumbles. Anyone who watched the 2010 Orange Bowl will remember Clayborn’s MVP performance as he completely dominated the game against Georgia Tech.
The St. Louis native turned many heads when he decided to put off the NFL for one more year to return for his senior season at the University of Iowa. Entering the 2010 season, he was ranked by many as the top defensive end in college football. NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. had Clayborn ranked as the No. 5 player overall on his NFL 2011 Draft Board.
Clayborn's senior season was not what he hoped it would be statistically (52 tackles, 3½ sacks and one forced fumble) but he still was a consensus All-American and first-team All-Big Ten pick. His inability as a senior to be the regular force in the backfield that he was in 2009, even when not drawing double-teams, has put concerns in the minds of some NFL scouts about his ability to be a true difference-maker at the next level.
In the Big 10, he faced off against several NFL quality LTs, including likely 2011 first round pick Gabe Carimi, who identified Clayborn as the toughest defensive end he faced (Clayborn had six tackles, two for loss, and a sack in their 2009 game). Even in practice at Iowa, Clayborn regularly lined up across from 2010 first round pick Bryan Bulaga.
Bunting says : 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, but has a powerful base and can really generate a jolt on contact as a bull rusher . 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.
One first-round prospect with an injury history sure to be examined and debated this week is Iowa defensive end Adrian Clayborn, who was born with a right arm that's smaller than his left arm, and suffers from Erb's Palsy, a condition which leads to nerve damage in the neck and arm. One NFL scout told me some teams are wary of taking Clayborn, who he said broke his collarbone at birth.
"His right arm is mal-developed to a degree... NFL teams will wonder if he’s left-hand dominant and only able to play on one side of the defense. He's probably going to slip some.''
His agent, Blake Baratz, points out, the issue with his right arm has never kept Clayborn off the field. The fifth-year senior never missed a game with the Hawkeyes. He didn't even miss so much as a practice all those years in the Big Ten, and that speaks volumes.'' "He's made tremendous strides in the past six weeks, and his shoulder will be in even better shape for his pro day. One arm is definitely bigger than the other arm, but it's already gotten less noticeable in just six weeks of training.''
Erb's Palsy is a paralysis of the arm caused by injury to the nerves, which most commonly takes place during the birthing process. That was the case for Clayborn, who grew up without full range of motion in his right arm. Despite this, he was four-year letterman in football and basketball, a star linebacker and tight end at Webster Groves High School in Missouri, earning the state's Player of the Year honors as a senior.
Iowa Defensive line coach Rick Kaczenski said the Erb's Palsy was never an issue.
Tony Pauline of TFY Insider Draft, Reported Iowa defensive end Adrian Clayborn would not participate in the Senior Bowl. Clayborn ran unofficial forty times of 4.81 and 4.82, but said he would not bench press at the Combine. He has impressive burst and acceleration for his size (6-foot-3, 286 pounds).
In January of 2009, Clayborn punched an Iowa City taxi driver who honked at him. The 280-pounder exited his car and, according to reports, had to be pulled away by a friend. He pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor, in March of 2010.