NFL Draft: Colts Taking A Visit From Auburn Tackle Zach Clayton

Reader Azrael1987 was kind enough to post an article link from our friends at National Football Post informing us that Auburn defensive tackle Zach Clayton is visiting the Indianapolis Colts today. According to NFP, Clayton had a strong Pro Day. They weren't the only impressed with Clayton:

Zach Clayton surprised even himself with how well he fared at Auburn’s Pro Day at Jordan-Hare Stadium on Tuesday.

The Opelika High grad and former Auburn defensive tackle topped the 13-player field in the bench press, lifting the 225-pound bar 27 times.

He finished second in the standing long jump with a mark of 10 feet, finishing just 2 inches behind linebacker Craig Stevens.

He record a vertical jump of 33.5 inches, finishing behind wide receiver Darvin Adams, tight end Gabe McKenzie and safety Zac Etheridge, and tying with Stevens.

In short, he might have played himself into the NFL Draft.

Clayton is viewed as a late-round prospect due, in large part, to the HUGE spotlight his former Auburn linemate, Nick Fairley, has fixed on him. Many felt that whatever success Clayton had at Auburn was due to teams doubling Fairley, a guy many think is the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.

Based on his Pro Day, and some video, perhaps Clayton is a bit better than folks thought.

At 6'2, 299 pounds, Clayton is built to play Tampa-2 DT. He's not  350 monster, but he's also not a 288 pounds midget. While Fairley got all the glory, Clayton was quietly the anchor in the middle for the Tigers defense.

"You know one of those guys that just makes it look easy?" freshman defensive tackle Jeffrey Whitaker said. "Like, ‘I could do that,’ then you go out there and it’s not that easy? Zach makes the whole thing look easy. …

"He’s a beast. He’s unblockable. Un. Blockable."

Auburn has a simple rotation at the tackle spot next to standout Nick Fairley. Clayton usually plays first and second down, when teams are more apt to run the ball. Mike Blanc, a bull rusher, replaces him on third downs.

Clayton has done his run-stuffing job well, making 19 tackles this season, including seven for a loss, third-most on the team behind Fairley and rush end Antoine Carter.

He does it with little bluster.

Quiet and mild-mannered, Clayton rarely gets animated on the field.

Should the Colts stupidly allow Antonio Johnson to walk, drafting a potential run-stuffer like Zach Clayton becomes all the more important. Here's an example of his interior line ability:


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