The Green Bay Packers usually do pretty well when it comes to the NFL draft — but it’s always nice to get positive signs early that a high pick is paying off and that’s exactly what the team is getting from first-round pick Kenny Clark.
When B.J. Raji announced his surprise retirement last offseason, nose tackle became a big need. Green Bay did well to re-sign Letory Guion, but a long-term solution was still needed and with the way Clark has played so far, it appears the Packers have found it.
According to a post by ESPN’s Rob Demovsky, Clark has opened eyes, not only with his ability to hold up at the point of attack, but also as a pass rusher. As noted in the post by Demovsky, Clark won eight of his first nine one-on-one pass rush reps and even beat starting center J.C. Tretter multiple times.
Clark was always productive against the run at UCLA, but registered only one sack during his first two seasons for the Bruins. Yet, last season, the junior totaled five sacks and that improvement has translated over to the NFL.
When the Packers take on the Browns tonight in their preseason opener, Clark will certainly be starting in the middle and should find himself playing in both base and sub packages due his pass-rush skills.
It will be interesting to see how he holds up and how Clark performs in a real-life NFL game. But often times, guys disappoint early and never show the potential the team hoped when they spent a pick on them. Yet, with Clark, nothing could be farther from the truth.
The defensive tackle has impressed from day one and as long as his solid play continues on the field in game action, the Packers will have plenty of reasons to feel good about making him their top pick last April.