Like many NFL players, Michael Clark was once a star on his basketball team. He played basketball at St. Francis University in Pennsylvania, a Division 1 school. In his one year with The Red Flash, he played in 12 games, averaging 6 points per game and 6 rebounds per game. After his freshman year at St. Francis University, he transferred to Marshall where in his first and only year with the Herd, “Clark finished the season with 37 catches for 632 yards and five touchdowns in his first year playing competitive football since his freshman year at Tampa Catholic in 2011.” (via http://www.herald-dispatch.com/sports/marshall_sports/herd-wr-clark-headed-to-nfl-draft/article_65f32472-f607-5bbf-b1b4-f917d69825d2.html)

 

Clark is a young athlete with great upside, something that he is showing with the Packers in his rookie training camp. Clark has a story that everyone wants to hear. One that is intriguing, and creates a buzz in the locker room. He is fresh and in some ways new to the professional side of football, stating:

 

“I’m still very, very, very raw. I haven’t played a lot of football, obviously. The upside, I guess, is what my appeal is. My height is very rare. I can move. I can play inside or outside. … I’m a big fan of LeBron (James) and I guess that was my inspiration for choosing basketball. I dropped everything and gave football another chance. … It’s everybody’s dream to be a professional athlete. In Green Bay, I get a chance. It’s like the Yankees in football. They’re always winning. Just a great organization to start in. I had options but the situation at Green Bay was bar none.” (http://www.packersnews.com/story/sports/nfl/packers/2017/05/04/profiles-packers-undrafted-free-agents/101287344/)

 

His dedication to his work ethic and his mindset of Green Bay being “bar none” has shown throughout his time in camp. He has made significant plays in practice, including the Packers’ first pre-season game. In that game, Clark was targeted 3 times, had 2 receptions, for 19 yards and 1 touchdown. The one touchdown he had in the Packers’ first pre-season game against the Eagles came from QB Taysom Hill, a lob in the back of the endzone. Clark absolutely looked like he used his basketball skills to his advantage, snatching the ball away from the defensive back.

 

During his rookie camp, Michael Clark has impressed anyone from Aaron Rodgers to Mike McCarthy. Clark is making it very difficult for coaches to get rid of him. In this Packer’s training camp, Clark has probably found himself in the most heated position battle on the team at wide receiver. As of Friday, August 18th, the Packers have 12 wide receivers on their roster. This is a position battle in which it won’t be easy for the coaches to sift through. Players like Trevor Davis, Max McCaffrey, Deangelo Yancy, and Malachi Dupre have all shown promise this training camp along with Michael Clark. The depth chart will certainly, in this order, be Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, and Davante Adams. The question is who is going to be the fourth man, and who is going to be the fifth man. In the Packer’s first pre-season game, it was Geronimo Allison that started in the three spot because Jordy Nelson did not play. This could indicate that the Packers are looking at Allison being the fourth guy. Typically, a team has around five wide receivers on the roster, depending on the needs of the team. It is likely that the Packers could keep up to six wide receivers on their roster, maybe even more. This means that they would have to cut down that list of twelve in half. That is where the decision is going to be tough.

 

Clark so far has shown that he should have a spot on this team. The Packers are not short of speed, or height, or playmaking ability at the wide receiver position. Like Jeff Janis’ play making ability on special teams, Clark will need to set himself apart. The one thing that could set Clark apart from all of the other wide receivers is his upside. He is young, talented, and is far from being burned out of the game. QB Aaron Rodgers preaches about consistency, being in the right place at the right time, and having camaraderie.

 

If Clark wants to secure his spot on the team, he needs to stand out. With QB Aaron Rodgers voicing support for Clark and comparing him to other rookie receivers, Rodgers said: “He’s taller than most of those guys and he jumps better than most of those guys” (http://www.espn.com/blog/nflnation/post/_/id/243640/michael-clark-dunkin-packers-hoopster-turned-receiver-catching-aaron-rodgers-eye-passes).

 

Due to the fact that Michael Clark is turning heads and being noticed makes him valuable to other NFL teams. If Clark is unable to make the Packer’s 53-man roster, and say the Packers won’t keep him on the practice squad, (which they might) he could still flourish with an NFL team. As it stands right now, Michael Clark is most likely going to be placed on the practice squad. He has tremendous upside, and talent that hasn’t even had a lot of opportunity to be recognized since he has only played in one NFL game. Through the next few weeks, Clark will get the opportunity to showcase his skills. In practice, it is important that he can have a rhythm with QB Aaron Rodgers. In a game, it is important that Clark be a standout player, do his job, and make a play or two. If he can translate his potential in practice to his potential in a game while under pressure, Clark will be able to prove to an NFL team that he is worthy of another opportunity. Since he is turning heads, there is no doubt another team would pick him up. By the end of the season, Michael Clark will be on an NFL Team, whether it be a 53-man roster or a practice squad, time will tell.

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