Add ESPN's Mel Kiper and Todd McShay, the NFL's most widely sought draft gurus, to the list of experts sending Iowa Hawkeyes DE Adrian Clayborn to the Atlanta Falcons in their latest and final 2011 NFL mock drafts. Both writeups are for ESPN Insiders only, so I'm not going to share anything beyond their assessments of this pick itself.
Kiper on Clayborn to Atlanta:
The Falcons are a solid team without a true glaring need, but a 4-3 defensive end with the ability to rush the passer and great awareness and discipline against the run can help them in 2011. That's Clayborn in a nutshell. His coaches rave, as do players that have had to face him. He has good size, a reputation for relentlessness and the respect of his peers. Atlanta could look for a wideout to diversify an attack that went too often in one direction last year, but Clayborn is the better value here.
And McShay on the Iowa product:
[Clayborn is] a very solid player with good athleticism for his size (6-foot-3, 281 pounds) and the kind of motor you want when betting on a risk/reward prospect late in the first round.
Coming into April, Falcons fans had thought the team had avoided a situation like last year, when pretty much everybody knew who the team was looking after. This time around, either the Falcons have absolutely fooled everyone, or they're latched on to Clayborn. We'll find out soon.
The first round of the 2011 NFL Draft starts at 8 p.m. (ET) on Thursday, April 28, and SB Nation has everything you need to prepare: NFL mock drafts, draft projections, scouting reports, the full NFL draft schedule and more. Check it out at SB Nation's NFL Draft page and our NFL Draft blog, Mocking the Draft.