Adrian Clayborn recorded eight fewer sacks and 13 fewer tackles for loss during the 2010 college football season compared to the All-American numbers he put up in 2009.
While that may hurt Clayborn’s NFL Draft stock, the former Hawkeye’s declining statistics could be the least of his worries — at least according to one NFL Draft prognosticator.
The Iowa defensive end was born with Erb’s Palsy, a nerve damage condition that can lead to paralysis or weakness of the arm. Also called Brachial Plexus Palsy, the disorder is most commonly seen in newborns and is typically a result of a difficult birth.
Clayborn told CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd in August 2010 that the condition caused nerve damage to his right shoulder, and that he needed physical therapy as a child to help fully extend his arm.
“It restricts my motion as far as in the weight room on some lifts,” Clayborn said in the article. “It doesn’t restrict me on the field.”
While Clayborn says he isn’t restricted, NFL Draft writer Shawn Zobel said some teams are still worried.
“It’s worth noting that there is major concern with Iowa defensive end Adrian Clayborn,” said Zobel, a draft writer for DraftHeadquarters.com. “From what I’ve been told, this is a big concern from teams and could result in him falling on draft day; when you already consider his down senior season compared to 2009, Clayborn’s stock is falling considerably.”
Although the St. Louis native may have to do some convincing with NFL scouts, many believe he shouldn’t have to.
For Iowa defensive line coach Rick Kaczenski, Clayborn’s impact on the field should speak for itself (192 tackles, 19 sacks, 37.5 TFL during his Hawkeye career).
“I can’t see him being a much better football player if he didn’t have that deficiency,” Kaczenski told Pro Football Weekly. “It has never, ever affected his performance on the field. You would have to go through four years of tape to show me a snap where it has affected his play.”