Pro Day Tour: DL Help in Iowa

We continue our daily pursuit of the Packers' scouts at two pro days, including a big one at Iowa featuring powerful defensive linemen Adrian Clayborn and Christian Ballard.

Iowa was the main event of a light Monday on the pro day circuit, and the Green Bay Packers were in attendance.

The Hawkeyes, who produced first-round pick Bryan Bulaga last year, have two prospects who could fortify the Packers' defensive line with Cullen Jenkins' expected departure.

Adrian Clayborn (6-3, 281) could be a target in the first round but he might not slide all the way down to No. 32. Clayborn, who showed a seriously fast first step for his size at the Scouting Combine, was dominant as a junior with 11.5 sacks, 20 tackles for losses and four forced fumbles. The stats weren't there as a senior, with 3.5 sacks and seven TFLs, but he was voted a consensus All-American.

Clayborn has been an impact player despite being born with Erb's palsy, a condition in which there's a loss of movement or weakness in the arm and neck (right arm, in Clayborn's case) stemming from the collection of nerves around the shoulder being damaged during birth. He got a late start in football because his mom feared for his health, but Clayborn improved at Iowa because of daily battles with Bulaga.

Christian Ballard (6-4, 283) would be a target in the second round if he's still on the board. Ballard, a star tight end in high school, was a three-year starter on the Hawkeyes' defensive line. He wasn't real productive, with 9.5 sacks and 17.5 TFLs as a starter, but probably would be more of an impact player as a 3-4 defensive end than as a defensive tackle in the Hawkeyes' scheme. He was clocked as fast as 4.68 seconds in the 40.

Both also did linebacker drills; Clayborn played linebacker in high school.

Three more players to consider for the Packers are safety Tyler Sash, quarterback Ricky Stanzi and guard Julian Vandervelde. Sash left school following his junior season with 13 career interceptions. He's not a great athlete (4.63 at Combine) but he knows the game. The Packers don't need a safety but he'd be an intriguing possibility in the fourth round. Stanzi (6-foot-4) has all the traits the Packers will like as a developmental quarterback. As a senior, he threw for 25 touchdowns, six interceptions and 64.1 percent accuracy, but he didn't wow anybody at the Combine. Vandervelde (6-3, 300) made 37 career starts and is an Academic All-American.

Abilene Christian

The Division II school that produced Danieal Manning and Johnny Knox has another big-time prospect with All-American receiver Edmond Gates. The 6-foot Gates, who tore up the Combine with a 4.37 in the 40, caught 66 passes for 1,182 yards and 13 touchdowns as a senior. He averaged 28.7 yards on kickoff returns as a freshman; he fielded punts on Monday.

With Alonzo Highsmith in attendance, Gates caught passes on Monday from the brother of Graham Harrell, Clark, a backup for Abilene-Christian. Graham Harrell, the Packers' third quarterback, was going to be the quarterback but was not allowed to because of the lockout.

Gates is surging up draft boards and might not even make it to the Packers' spot in the third round.


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport.


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