Rookie Watch: Clayborn flourishing
Everyone got to see Adrian Clayborn on Monday night as he abused several left tackles in the Buccaneers' victory over Indianapolis. In reality, he has been very impressive in every game thus far.
Clayborn is very fundamentally sound for such a young defensive end and is a great hustle player. He uses his hands extremely well and is strong at the point of attack. Although the Bucs are very young on the defensive line, the overall talent there is readily apparent.
And the Bucs are deep on the line. That depth allows them to bring young players such as Clayborn along slowly. It also creates a lot of competition for playing time while permitting Tampa Bay to stay fresher on the line of scrimmage than its opponents. The situation is working out quite well for Clayborn.
|Ranking||Player, position (draft position)||Last week|
|Von Miller, Broncos LB (first round, No. 2)
Miller notched another two sacks in Green Bay last week. He just plays so fast. At this point, he looks like a lock for Defensive Rookie of the Year honors, and he just might set the rookie sacks record in the process.
|Cam Newton, Panthers QB (first round, No. 1)
Newton continues to be extremely impressive. He didn't eclipse 400 yards through the air in Chicago, but he came close. He also had two rushing touchdowns. His poise might be his most impressive quality.
|Ryan Kerrigan, Redskins LB (first round, No. 16)
Kerrigan continues to make big plays. He is a game-changer. And Kerrigan now has a sack in three straight games. Having Brian Orakpo on the opposite side certainly helps Kerrigan's cause, but this guy is a fine player already in his own right.
|A.J. Green, Bengals WR (first round, No. 4)
Green has been great in two of his four games as a professional. With Andy Dalton behind center, there are sure to be ups and downs for Cincinnati's passing game, but the ups have been quite impressive.
|Julio Jones, Falcons WR (first round, No. 6)
Jones had a very productive day in Seattle. He now has two 100-yard games in just four tries. Roddy White is not 100 percent healthy and has struggled with drops, and Jones has stepped up in his place.
|Denarius Moore, Raiders WR (fifth round, No. 148)
Surprisingly, the Raiders really didn't feature Moore very much against the Patriots and New England's terrible pass defense. That didn't make a lot of sense to me.
|J.J. Watt, Texans DE (first round, No. 11)
Watt has been great from the get-go. He is a very difficult player to keep blocked because of his length, strength and tenacity. Watt was exceptional last weekend as the Texans dominated Pittsburgh's offensive line.
|Tyron Smith, Cowboys OT (first round, No. 9)
Despite his team's late collapse, the rookie right tackle did a great job against the Lions' fantastic defensive line. Very light on his feet and athletic, he has the abilities of a left tackle. With Doug Free's struggles on Tony Romo's blind side, Dallas' bookends could switch spots before the 2012 season.
|Adrian Clayborn, Buccaneers DE (first round, No. 20)
The Bucs have a very deep and young defensive line. And Clayborn is certainly a keeper.
|Aldon Smith, 49ers LB (first round, No. 7)
Smith had two sacks in Week 4 and faired very well vs. stud LT Jason Peters. Smith is still just a part-time player, but his role is increasing on an excellent 49ers defense. He has been a key component of that excellence.
Scouts Inc. watches games, breaks down film and studies football from all angles for ESPN.com.
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