NEW YORK — It was a very telling point of the NFL draft when the Buccaneers, badly in need of a pass rusher at No. 20, selected Iowa DE Adrian Clayborn. Not because Clayborn was a reach, but because the Bucs chose him over Clemson DE Da’Quan Bowers, who is sliding because of concerns over his surgically repaired knee.
Ultimately, the Bucs determined that the Erb’s palsy condition that Clayborn has dealt with since birth — which affects his right side — is less of a concern than Bowers’ knee condition. And, as it turned out, no team was confident enough in Bowers to take him in the first round.
“Clayborn was a surprise pick,” NFL.com analyst Pat Kirwan said. “He’s going to have a hard time getting off blocks in the NFL. That’s one of the first-round stories to me. I would have taken Bowers.”
Bowers, once in the conversation as the potential No. 1 overall pick early in the draft process, was the No. 17 player on Kirwan’s big board. Likewise, NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock had the Bucs taking Bowers. But Bowers is on the slide — and he’s still on the board as we enter Day 2 on Friday. Others ends taken ahead of Bowers: Aldon Smith (No. 7), J.J. Watt (11), Robert Quinn (14), Ryan Kerrigan (16), Cameron Jordan (24), and Cameron Heyward (32).
– Frank Tadych