Kenny Clark: Got a Little Bark

Hey, Ted Thompson hasn’t changed in the past year.  Good for him, at some age you just gotta be the built wall.  No need to add any new bricks.  He’s sturdy enough.  The Packers used their first round pick on another under the radar player, Kenny Clark out of UCLA, who was a First Team all PAC-12 as a Junior before entering the draft.  Kenny is a 20 year old nose guard standing at 6’3” and 314 lbs.  By now, I’m sure most fans have read about his relationship with his father, but what impressed me even more than Kenny forgiving and moving forward, was how he stepped up for his mother.  When he was nine, he was the oldest man in his home and helped take care of his younger siblings.  Not a lot of people have had that level of responsibility for the majority of their life.  That’s the kind of responsibility where you either go crazy, or it drives you to reach your potential.  Sometimes, both happen, but in Kenny’s case I get the vibe he’s working to be his best Kenny Clark.

In football terms, he has the potential to be a productive player for us.  A high football IQ allows him to be a playmaker from the nose guard position.  At UCLA, he was very aggressive playing down the line, clogging running lanes for the offense, although being aggressive does backfire at times if the running back can cut back on us.  The Packers have been lacking a player that can bust up a blocking scheme.  Even if he’s not the one making the play, just by disrupting the play a little, it allows Clay Matthews one more hole to run through that wasn’t there last season.  He uses his hands and background with wrestling to overcome his shortcomings (small arms) to position his weight well for his next move.  Speaking of his hands, he looks to be a competent batting balls down at the line of scrimmage, which is a testament to his high IQ.  The defensive unit needs to put more pressure on the QB when we can’t hit him.  Too many times last season, we’d go possession after possession without touching the opposing quarterback.  If we simply bat the occasional ball down, our secondary isn’t forced to make the play every down.  He’s also very good at using a low center of gravity to get past his match-up, as he was the Bruins’ second leading tackler with 75 tackles last season.  In many ways, he reminds me of a young BJ Raji, but luckily Kenny won’t have to live up to being a top-10 pick.  Packers first round picks usually don’t get a ton of media hype, so he’ll be able to take the NFL in for a while and get his legs in order.  Maybe, that’s why Ted Thompson likes to take a lesser name most seasons.  He takes a talented kid that the coaching staff gets to mold with little pressure.

Since he’s only 20, I’m not sure how significant a role he’ll have for the Pack, but his long-term potential looks to be promising.  He made vast improvements over his time at UCLA, hopefully he can continue improving his game for years to come.  If he could boost his quickness in the next couple years, his skill set becomes very dangerous.  He’s can already get by you by getting low.  Imagine he added quickness to that?  His ability to get through the line would be very impressive, probably forcing teams to double team him.  He’s a very likable person, someone the fan base might get extra excited for after making a play.  KENAY! After Kenny Clark throws down a third string running back this preseason.  All in all, I’m very intrigued by Kenny’s skill-set.  He doesn’t have a perfect all-around game, but he does a number of things I think will fit in the Dom Capers system quite well.  Ted Thompson continues to add talent to the roster through the draft, hopefully he can hold his own his rookie season and avoid being a negative as we attempt to make a Super Bowl run.



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