Iowa‘s Adrian Clayborn is more than just a top #5-#15 NFL Draft prospect. He’s an interesting interview, and a candid young man with stand-up character. He was the highlight of Big Ten Media Day 2; partially because he was so candid about the transitional process from college to professional football.
“The coaches sit down, and we have a talk with a guy from a program called Pathway to the Pros, they talk to us about agents, and the key thing is- don’t accept anything. You can talk to them on the phone, you can talk to them face to face. Just don’t accept anything and if you do that, you’re golden,” Clayborn told us at Media Day.
By Paul M. Banks
And a lot of these agents are persistent. Like crazy-ex girlfriend stalking you persistent, they just keep calling and calling.
“There’s a little too much of it, sometimes it gets hectic and you get a text late at night and you wonder- What are you doing? Where’s your wife?” But you just gotta ignore it and focus on what you can focus on. You just gotta be stern with your values,” Clayborn told the media last week.
At this point, I pictured a scenario similar to this scene from “Swingers.”
And what if they amended the rules, allowing college players to have agents?
“I don’t think there’s a need for an agent, I don’t think there’s anything they can do for you,” Clayborn said.
Lately, there’s been a movement to have agents represent college players, but have no money change hands. Clayborn agrees me with that this arrangement could never work.
“I think that’s impossible cuz there’s players out there and guys who know how to talk and persuade,” he said.
When Clayborn does make the jump, studies out there convey results greatly in his favor. There’s a quantum leap in both career length and earning power for lineman who stayed all four years in college over those who left early.
“I feel like QBs and wide receivers can make the leap, but once you get into going against grown, 30-year-old men playing offensive line that’s a whole different thing than playing against a 19 year old offensive tackle. So I felt like staying another year and getting more strength under my belt,” Clayborn said about his decision to pass up the NFL c.r.e.a.m. and instead play another year in college.
“Speed and explosiveness that some guys don’t have.” That’s what Clayborn told me his best asset was upon my asking.
I also wanted to get his opinion on the recent trend of college DEs going on to play OLB in NFL base 3-4s.
“I think it’s great that guys can transition, because most guys that played defensive end in college, they probably were linebackers in high school, so transitioning back to either position is probably not that big of a deal,” Clayborn articulated.
So where does he fit?
“If a team is going to pay me millions of dollars, I’ll play whatever position they want me to,” he said.
Adrian Clayborn is ready and focused on this season; which could be a very special one for Iowa. He doesn’t look back on his decision to stay. He knows he’s got a lot to do in Iowa City, and he has even bigger and brighter days ahead of him.
“I think I can take my game to a whole ‘nother level, like (Green Bay Packers first round pick, former Hawkeyes OT Bryan) Bulaga, pretty much one of the best lineman to come through Iowa. He did what he did needed to do here.
I want to be more consistent and pretty much try to dominate. I’m realistic with myself and I knew that if I came back, I’d have a better chance to take my game to the next level. I could have went but I wouldn’t have been true to myself,” Clayborn stated.
For part one of this exclusive, discussing Clayborn’s alleged “off-the-field” issues go here
Written by Paul M. Banks, President and CEO of The Sports Bank.net , a Midwest focused webzine. He is also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, the Chicago Tribune’s blog network, Walter Football.com, the Washington Times Communities, Yardbarker Network, and Fox Sports.com
You can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbank and @bigtenguru