Jasen Vinlove/USA Today Sports

New DE Adrian Clayborn explains why Patriots were best fit for him

Ryan Hannable
March 21, 2018 - 2:50 pm

At 29 years old, Adrian Clayborn was one of the best defensive ends available on the free agent market last week.

After not getting signed in the initial first wave, he got a call from the Patriots on Thursday inviting him for a visit on Friday. Clayborn didn't leave town without a contract, as after a long day of meeting with the coaches he signed a reported two-year deal.

Speaking on a conference call Wednesday, Clayborn explained why the Patriots were the best fit.

"I mean, just talking to the coaches, they explained what could be my role," he said. "I mean, it kind of brings me back to my Iowa days where you’ve got to work for what you get, and I’m all for that. I’m just looking to try to help the team out in any way I can."

With the Falcons last season, Clayborn had 9.5 sacks, although it's worth mentioning six came in one game against the Cowboys. In terms of his strengths, he can set the edge very well, as well as get after the opposing quarterback.

He believes he will be able to do all of that with the Patriots.

"Without getting into the details, just pretty much whatever I prove I can do," he said. "I mean, I know I can rush the passer and I know I can set the edge in the run, so I mean, there’s a couple different positions that they believe I can play. So, it’s up to me to prove I can play them."

Added Clayborn: "I believe that’s what people have pigeon-holed me in as a third-down player, but I know I can play first, second, third down if need be. That was my role in Atlanta because that’s what they asked me to do, but I mean, I can play all three downs if you ask me."

One thing that's worth noting is that Clayborn has Erb’s Palsy and because of this primarily lines up on the right side of the line of scrimmage. This is something to monitor as Trey Flowers typically lines up on that side, but has lined up on the left side at times.

"I play the right side. That’s where I’ve been playing for most of my career," Clayborn said. "I mean, it doesn’t really affect me besides in the weight room with doing some stuff, but on the field, I mean, it doesn’t really affect me. I’ve learned to compensate when I have to and I do what I’ve got to do to make the plays."

Before spending his last three seasons in Atlanta, he was a first-round pick by the Buccaneers in 2011.

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