Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2013 Breakout Candidate: Adrian Clayborn

Adrian Clayborn

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers flat out got better on defense this offseason. With proven veterans Dashon Goldson and Darrelle Revis joining the unit, the outlook for the 2013 season is fairly bright in Tampa. However, there are areas of the defense that must improve if the Bucs are going to have any chance at a postseason run.

The pass-rush was just not good in Tampa a season ago. The defense finished with only 27 sacks, good for third to last in the entire league. Injuries played a big part in those 27 sacks, with Da’Quan Bowers and Adrian Clayborn both missing significant time. But the two defensive ends will be back this season and ready for week one, barring any setbacks.

Unlike Bowers, Clayborn has managed to play an entire season, so he doesn’t figure to be in a ‘last chance’ type of situation last like his fellow DE could be. Clayborn was drafted in the first round of 2011 to be a dominant pass-rusher, so far, he hasn’t quite got there.

He did record 7.5 sacks his rookie season, and showed glimpses of the player he can be. Clayborn has said that his knee injury really woke him up, and that he no longer takes the game for granted. So all indications are that he’s fully healthy, and that he’s as motivated as ever to succeed. These factors will lead to a breakout season for No. 94.

If Bowers can simultaneously reach his potential opposite of Clayborn on the d-line in 2013, the Bucs’ defense could go from good to great.

 

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