Two former Buccaneers first-round picks in the 2010s will get the chance to play in pro football’s biggest game, when they take the field on opposite sides for the Patriots and the Rams in Super Bowl 53.
Former Tampa Bay 2011 top pick defensive end, Adrian Clayborn, is a brand new New England Patriot and will join his teammates, who have made appearing in the Super Bowl a regular occurrence.
Meanwhile, former Buccaneers 2012 first-round pick, safety Mark Barron, has settled in nicely with the Rams in their secondary. And, he too will get a shot at the NFL’s biggest prize while with another team.
The man who drafted both Clayborn and Barron, while general manager of the Bucs those two seasons, Mark Dominik, gave a social media “shout out” for their accomplishment on Tuesday night:
Very happy for Buccaneers 2011 1st rounder @AJaClay and 2012 1st rounder @M_B_24 to be playing in their first Super Bowl. Two highly competitive players that have worked hard thru their entire football careers. #SBLIII
— Mark Dominik (@MarkdominikNFL) January 22, 2019
Clayborn came to the Bucs in Raheem Morris’ his final season (2011) and despite Tampa Bay falling apart losing their final ten games and getting Morris fired, he was solid in his rookie year. In fact, he set the Tampa Bay rookie record with 7.5 sacks that season. Unfortunately for Clayborn, he battled season-ending knee and pectoral injuries over the next three seasons, which basically derailed his Buccaneers career.
Tampa Bay did not re-sign him when his rookie contract ran out, and Clayborn instead signed a free agent deal with the division-rival Atlanta Falcons. He played three seasons in Atlanta, without tremendous success or numbers. Except, there was a famous 2017 game at home with the Cowboys, where Clayborn recorded a staggering Falcons franchise record six sacks in the game.
Clayborn (above) signed a two year deal with the New England Patriots this off season. He started only one game, had 2.5 sacks and three tackles for loss, but is part of an AFC winning team.
Meanwhile for Baron, he was drafted in the first round the following year by Dominik and for new coach Greg Schiano. However, he never lived up to the hype of being a top-10 pick out of Alabama, while playing for the Buccaneers. A significant part of that was the disastrous tenure of Schiano, who lost 13 out of 14 games at the end of Barron’s rookie year and to start 2013. Schiano was also, fired.
Then, when the new regime took over Barron’s third season, Lovie Smith as the coach and Jason Licht as the GM, they dealt Barron away at the trade deadline to the then-St Louis Rams.
Baron had a lot of success, at least statistically, in Jeff Fisher defenses, including two years where he had more than 100 tackles in a season playing a safety / linebacker hybrid position.
He’s been a solid contributor on the 2018 team with 60 more tackles under defensive coordinator Wade Phillips; scheme, three of those for losses, with one sack, and one forced fumble.
Buccaneer fans have gotten used to watching other players, in particular quarterbacks like the fame Doug Williams, Steve Young And even Trent Dilfer go to another Squad and win a ring.
And another former Tampa Bay first round defender, corner Aqib Talib, has won two rings with the Patriots and the Broncos. And he’s now going for an unusual “trifecta” of a third title with a third different team, as he will be in the L.A. secondary with Barron, too.
So, now, Bucs fans get to watch again in a week and a half, as Clayborn and Barron, picked in the first round to potentially be long-standing good players on the Bucs defense, were basically allowed to walk out the door in their prime.
And, now will play for a championship, somewhere else.
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