Prospect Ranking: #3
Strengths: Has good measurables for the position. A very good combination of power and athleticism; flashing the suddenness off the snap to get around the edge. Shows the functional strength to contain the edge in run support or create traffic in one-on-one matchups.
Can stack and shed on the ballcarrier. Impressive foot quickess in the short areas and has good speed for a big man to chase down the line of scrimmage and pursue to the opposite side. Gives good effort and plays to the whistle. Clayborn has very good awareness and is controlled and focused on snaps; showing that he could quickly drop into coverage as he noticed a play developing towards him, disrupting the play.
Aggressive and will continue to work to make a play even if walled off on initial release. Footwork allows him to be effective on stunt moves inside. Shows a strong rip and arm & under move in pass rush. Good overall technique with hand-fighting and punch in his pass rush. Flattens down tightly to close on the quarterback once he wins leverage on the offensive tackle. Wrap-up tackler with strength to bring down big running backs by himself. Quick inside spin move.
Needs Improvement: Negates his impressive power with high technique; needs to improve his bend and pad level to be consistent in pass rush and run support containment. Tight hipped and doesn’t always flip quickly enough to make a play against the run away from him.
Coverage technique will need work if asked to be an outside linebacker in a 3-4; looks lost at times which hurts his reaction quickness. Conditioning will need to improve as his stamina waned late in games. Relies too much on upper body strength and athleticism over technique.
Bottom Line: It’s hard to get a firm grip on where Adrian Clayborn should be rated because at times he flashes elite suddenness and power as a pass rusher, which coupled with his good athleticism and foot quickness make him extremely dangerous to an offense. The trouble is it isn’t consistent which is due to his relatively high technique from the snap. Because of this, Clayborn was rarely double teamed in games I observed due to offensive tackles being able to win leverage with inside hand placement.
If coaches can get Clayborn to play with bend on a regular basis he has the athleticism to be a very good pass rusher. His lack of bend restricts his balance and also allows him to get driven back in the running game against techique sharp lineman. When Clayborn’s technique is on he’s unquestionably a top ten talent, but because it isn’t on often enough he’ll likely fall in the draft. But not too far.
Draft Projection: 1st round.