Adrian Clayborn appeared on What The Buc's show yesterday. For those who don't know, What The Buc is a fan-run weekly, interactive radio/podcast show, and they've gotten a lot of players in for interviews recently. Make sure to check out the podcast, or show up for the live shows as they're a lot of fun too.
When Adrian Clayborn appeared on that show, WTB asked him about his own perceived strengths and weaknesses. His biggest strength should come as no surprise: his hands. Clayborn has tremendous upper-body strength and uses his hands very well to control and shed blockers to go make a play. That was evident in his junior year as well as his senior year. What was telling was the biggest weakness he named: his inconsistent pad level. Leverage is tremendously important in line play, as the low man usually wins the battle. Clayborn had a tendency to play upright in college, though he flashed the ability to stay low. This is what makes Da'Quan Bowers such a great player: he consistently plays with terrific pad level, creating leverage and beating opposing linemen.
Equally interesting were Clayborn's thoughts on why he did not manage to get the same production in 2010 that he did in 2009. He mentioned frequent double teams, and the inability to deal with them. But he also talked about the frustration going into that, and why that will make him a better player in the long run. Clayborn has experienced what it feels like to be shut down and to be unable to get anything done, and that's surely something he will feel in the NFL, especially as a rookie.
Of course, that's not actually going to help him beat any of the left tackles he's going to face, and on passing downs Clayborn will probably struggle to get to the quarterback consistently. It's interesting that, when prompted, he noted he could play 3-technique on passing downs. I haven't seen him do that in his college career, though I haven't watched every game, but he does have some of the skillset to succeed in such a role. Unfortunately for him, there doesn't really seem to be much room on the roster for him to do so. Gerald McCoy is expected to play the 3-technique position, while Brian Price should be the long-term answer as the second DT on passing downs.