BREAKING: Green Bay Packers select Kenny Clark, DL, UCLA, 27

UCLA Defensive Lineman kenny clark
Analysis (Matt Bove): Ted Thompson and the Green Bay Packers could not have been in a better spot with the way the draft shaped up for them leading up to the 27th pick. Myles Jack tumbled down the board and was still available along with Reggie Ragland at inside linebacker. Pretty much every defensive lineman was available who you could have imagined with Vernon Butler, Jarren Reed, Andrew Billings, A’Shawn Robinson, Kenny Clark and Robert Nkemdiche all left.
The Packers ended up going with Clark, the 6-foot-3, 314-pound nose tackle out of UCLA. Clark had an outstanding season for the Bruins last year with six sacks and 11.5 tackles for loss. He’s only 20 years old, so should keep maturing physically. He will be able to contribute against the run right away with great power and leverage. He possessed and excellent bull rush last season at UCLA, but how far his pass rush comes will likely determine how good a player he becomes. Clark will be able to anchor against double teams right way to help a Packers run defense that needs it.
It’s pretty disappointing the Packers didn’t take a chance on Jack, yet not surprising. It’s hard to blame them without having all the information, but Jack is the exact kind of player the Packers have been desperate for. Even if if only plays three or four years it would have likely been worth it. It’s also somewhat surprising they did not trade down with so many linemen available. Clark likely could have been had int he second round and if not you would have had many other nice options.

Team Fit (Ross Uglem): Kenny Clark is a classic Ted Thompson pick.  Thompson loves young players, and Kenny Clark is certainly that.  Clark, at 20 is a Pac-12 prospect (Thompson loves those) who is just 20 years old and had an unreal 76 tackles and 6 sacks for UCLA.  Clark possesses the necessary versatility to play all along Coach Caper’s defensive line.  I would have no problem Playing Clark at Nose, at 5-tech (he’s 6’3″) or in the 2 man front in Green Baty’s nickel defense.

Clark is already an elite run defender, but there is plenty of upside for a player his age to grow in to a pass rusher.  Right now, Clark is one of the best bull-rushers in this class.  This defensive line class was extremely deep and this was just the player that Ted Thompson fell in love with.  Ted builds from the trenches and loves to build with youth, Clark checks both boxes.

NFL Player Comp (Mike Wendlandt)- Mike Daniels, Green Bay Packers: Clark reminds me a l lot of Mike Daniels as far as his playing style. He is taller than Daniels at 6’3” but has a mean streak that will let him thrive in the trenches of the NFC North. He didn’t show a ton of pass rush moves but playing in front of Myles Jack, Eric Kendricks, and Anthony Barr during his career he didn’t need too. His functional strength and intelligence is almost a dead on match to Daniels.

He also has the passion for the game that Daniels does, as he constantly is talking about it and wants to be a coach after is career is done.  Clark was a player that Thompson didn’t even know if he would have the chance to draft, and it shouldn’t be surprising that he didn’t pass up a player this talented from what is apparently his favorite conference.

 

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Ross Uglem is a writer at PackersTalk.com. You can follow Ross on twitter at RossUglem

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