Arm Length: 32 1/8 inches
10-Yard Split: 1.72 seconds
Bench Press: 225lbs x 29
Short Shuttle: 4.62 seconds
Kenny Clark was a two-year starter for the UCLA Bruins, who contributed in all three seasons and finished his college career starting twenty-nine consecutive games. Over his three-year collegiate career Clark posted 164 tackles, 20.5 of those for a loss and six sacks. In his final season, Clark was given Third-Team All American Honors and First-Team All PAC-12 Honors.
The most noticeable positive on Clark’s tape is his overwhelming upper body strength, which presents itself as both a run defender and also as a pass rusher. Clark bench pressed 225lbs, twenty-nine times, which matches the impressive upper body strength you see on tape. This play against Arizona shows his powerful upper body strength. Clark gets a solid jump and bull rushes the guard and drives him backwards, all the while keeping his eyes on the quarterback. When the quarterback starts to slide right, Clark throws the offensive lineman to the side and puts a good hit on the quarterback a second after the ball was released.
This play against Stanford further emphasizes his powerful upper body strength. The junior defensive lineman gets a great jump off the snap, and uses great hand placement technique inside the center’s shoulder pads. Clark continues the play using his heavy hands and powerful punch to push the center right into the quarterback’s lap, with the quarterback getting the ball out just in time.
As mentioned above, Clark has very solid hand placement throughout his tape, which aids his ability to stack and shed at the right time.
The ability to stack and shed consistently requires that the player have above average upper body strength, and also use quality hand placement inside the offensive lineman’s pads to disengage and anchor off of the lineman’s torso to get to the ball carrier.
This clip against Nebraska shows quality upper body strength to disengage from blocker and make the play on the running back. Clark doesn’t use the best hand placement here, but the heavy hands and upper body strength he has are very evident in his ability to disengage from the offensive lineman.
The former Bruin defensive tackle is a very underrated athlete. Clark ran a 1.72 second ten-yard split, which is phenomenal for 314lbs. To put his ten-yard split into context, James Crowser an outside linebacker from Southern Utah ran a 1.69 split at 248lbs.
This play against Arizona highlights Clark’s athletic ability combined with his upper body strength. The junior defensive tackle had a great first step that catches the offensive lineman off guard. Then Clark continues the play with his powerful initial punch that starts to drive the lineman backwards, and finally Clark uses his upper body strength to disengage from the lineman and swallow the running back for a big loss.
The junior defensive tackle also shows his athletic ability by catching a touchdown pass against Virginia as a fullback on a play action pass at the goal line.
When watching the NFL Combine, I was shocked to see how poorly Clark tested in the vertical and broad jump categories. On tape the Bruin junior showed above average explosion out of his three-point stance so I was surprised to see his poor combine jumps. When I went back to the tape, I still saw quality lower body strength, but it was apparent that the former Bruin did rely on his upper body strength for leverage too often at times.
Clark’s lack of production in the sack category until this season is slightly concerning, because on tape he doesn’t show a high variety of moves to rush the passer. The majority of the time Clark uses only his bull rush move--a high quality move because of his superior upper body strength--but he will need to develop other moves to play on all three downs at the next level.
The junior defensive lineman also has shorter arms than ideal at defensive tackle. However, Clark has the quick first step and upper body strength to negate his shorter arms the majority of the time.
What Others Are Saying:
Jon Ledyard The Draft Wire/USA Today: “Clark’s physical maturation is eye-opening. I think he’ll be an ideal 4-3 nose tackle who can potentially play spot roles in multiple fronts. He isn’t the two-gapping space-eater that Alabama’s Jarran Reed is, but Clark’s ability to hold the point of attack and re-route backs at the line of scrimmage should make him an attractive first round candidate to teams this spring.”
Daniel Jeremiah NFL Network: “This is a very productive player on tape. Against the run, he launches out of a crouched stance and quickly shoots his hands to lock out blockers. He holds his ground vs. single blocks but he will get washed down the line by angle blocks and double teams. He has very good instincts to locate the ball and his effort is strong.”
Grade/Round Projection: Late First Round Pick
Due the depth of the 2016 defensive line class, it wouldn’t shock me to see Clark fall to the mid second round, but he definitely has first round value. His ability to bring an instant impact as a run defender is something teams will love. Clark moved around the defensive line at UCLA, but he found himself as a 0-tech 4-3 nose tackle the majority of the time, which I think is where he will be best at the NFL level. Clark is fairly scheme versatile who could also play as a NT in a 3-4 base defense. The former Bruin doesn’t have the interior pass rush upside of some of the other players in this class. He sits at DL6 on my big board right now.