Expectations for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers‘ defense have gone up substantially in the last few months. With numerous key additions in the offseason, the unit is now shaping up to be one of the best in the NFC. One player who will play a major role for the Bucs this season is defensive end Adrian Clayborn.
The third-year defensive end is coming off a 2012 season that was cut short by a knee injury. The injury ultimately required surgery, so Clayborn only played in three games a year ago. But so far in his Bucs’ career, he’s started in all 19 games he’s played in.
2013 figures to be a very pivotal season for Clayborn, because it’s basically time for him so show he was worth the team’s first round pick in 2011. If he’s unable to stay on the field again, or he just can’t live up to the team’s new defensive standards, the Bucs will simply replace him.
The starting right DE position is again Clayborn’s this year, so the ball is clearly in his court. It’s time he establishes himself as a legitimate stater in the NFL, and plays up to his potential. He had a good rookie season, but after almost a year off, he doesn’t have much to build on.
Clayborn is the prototypical NFL defensive end. He’s 6’3′, 281 lbs., and very quick on his feet, so they’re just aren’t any excuses for failure. Just as expectations are rising in Tampa, they’re rising just as much for Adrian Clayborn. If he can stay healthy, I think he’ll secure his job for several more years.
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