Mel Kiper: Clayborn a late first-rounder


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At least one analyst thinks Adrian Clayborn may slip into the second round of next week's NFL draft.

The NFL Network's Mike Mayock said Wednesday in a conference call that because of teams' concerns about Clayborn's Erb's palsy and an inability to beat double teams during the 2010 season, the former Iowa defensive end could slip to as late as 37th overall for the Cleveland Browns' second-round selection.

Erb's palsy is characterized by a loss of movement of the arm that occurs when nerves around the shoulder are damaged during birth, according to the National Library of Medicine.

Some teams worry the condition hinders his upper-body strength, but Clayborn insisted otherwise when he was asked how the condition affects his play during an April 15 interview on ESPN's "First Take".

"It doesn't affect me," he said. "Put on the tape of the last three and a half years; it hasn't really affected me. There's just some stuff I don't do in the weight room, but as far as on the field, man — I just play."

Despite the concerns, Mel Kiper Jr. firmly believes Clayborn is a first-round pick.

"The concern is something he's played with for his whole life," the ESPN draft analyst said in a conference call Wednesday. "He was considered a top-10 guy as a junior, but he still had the arm issue."

Clayborn registered only 52 tackles and 3.5 sacks this past season compared with 70 tackles and 11.5 sacks in 2009, but he was honored as a consensus All-American both years.

"Some people put him in the second [round]. I don't," Kiper said.

In Kiper's most recent mock draft on ESPN.com — April 6 — Clayborn is projected to go 27th overall to the Atlanta Falcons. Other possible destinations for the St. Louis native include the New Orleans Saints with the 24th pick and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at No. 20.

Stanzi — the heir to Manning?

Ricky Stanzi figures to be the first Iowa quarterback of the Kirk Ferentz era to be selected in the NFL draft. The Mentor, Ohio, native elevated his stock immensely after an impressive senior season in which he completed 221-of-345 passes for 3,004 yards and 25 touchdowns. He was also only intercepted six times, an improvement from 15 interceptions in 2009.

Kiper said he sees Stanzi being selected somewhere between the third and fifth rounds, and "probably no lower than fifth."

He may even wind up in Indianapolis behind 11-time pro bowler Peyton Manning. Manning turned 35 years old last month.

"I think the Colts would be a team that would look at him if they are looking at an heir apparent to Peyton Manning or bringing in a young quarterback," Kiper said. "He's the one in my opinion that would be more attractive than the others [quarterbacks] at that point."

The National Football Post's Aaron Wilson reported that Stanzi visited with the Cleveland Browns Wednesday. He has worked out for the New England Patriots, Miami Dolphins, and San Francisco 49ers.

Ballard, Klug, Sash

Christian Ballard's name has surfaced in some circles as a possible early second-round pick, but Kiper said he thinks the former Hawkeye defensive lineman is more of a late second-rounder. His latest mock has Ballard slotted in the third round with the Denver Broncos' No. 67 overall pick.

"I think he's got to get a little stronger in the weight room," Kiper said. "Late two, early three."

Kiper also expects another Iowa defensive lineman — Karl Klug — to be taken, likely in the fourth round.

Meanwhile, safety Tyler Sash has received mixed reviews.

"Someone told me third round, someone told me sixth," Kiper said. "He'll probably fall in the fourth."

The NFL draft will be televised live on ESPN from New York City, with the first round at 7 p.m. on April 28. Rounds two and three will be held on April 29, and four-seven are slated for April 30.

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