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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Browns missed on attempt to steal Clayborn, much to his relief



The Bucs say they had their eyes on first-round pick Adrian Clayborn throughout the evening on Thursday, preferring to take the risk and stand pat with the hope he wouldn't be drafted before No. 20.

It turns out the Browns had fixed their eyes on Clayborn, too.

Clayborn's camp believed the Browns' decision to trade up five spots to the No. 21 slot was aimed at grabbing Clayborn. There's just one problem: The Bucs beat them to the punch.

"(The Browns) were trading up to get me, so I’m glad (Tampa Bay) pulled the trigger," Clayborn said.

Clayborn said Tampa was where he wanted to be, so from his perspective, he dodged a bullet. There were other teams that he knew were extremely interested.

"I knew New Orleans liked me," Clayborn said. "I knew Atlanta liked me, but when they traded away all their picks for Julio (Jones), I knew they didn’t like me anymore. Other teams liked me but I knew Tampa liked me the most. So I’m glad I’m a Buc."

When Tampa Bay finally was on the clock, Clayborn sat nervously in the green room at Radio City Music Hall, until his agent got a text message from Bucs general manager Mark Dominik confirming the choice. Even then, though, Clayborn refused to let his guard down until Dominik called him several minutes later.

He knew the Bucs had a high opinion of Cal defensive end Cameron Jordan and, perhaps, Clemson's Da'Quan Bowers, and Clayborn was jumpy.

"When we got to 17 or 18, I start looking around at Cam Jordan like, 'Is his phone ringing?' " Clayborn said. "At one point I couldn't see him. Then I thought about Bowers. I was like, 'I hope his phone's not ringing.' I just kept looking around. I don't know if anybody noticed.

"They took forever to send the pick in. I think there was about three minutes left. So, for seven minutes I was looking around like, 'What the hell's going on?' "

In the end, it worked out for the Bucs -- and Clayborn.

[Last modified: Friday, April 29, 2011 4:28pm]


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