We are fast approaching the NFL Combine, and all eyes will be on the most anticipated event in the country. I have a set list of players I will be focusing on at the NFL Combine, it seems like the Cardinals fans become more and more hungry as the offseason goes along. I will also be doing a list, when the combine ends, of guys who performed very well and that the Cardinals should keep an eye on.
The list will include a criteria of “needs” and “wants” that are established before the start of the NFL free agency period. We are getting closer and closer to the wonderful event that reminds me of the stock market, inching closer to the “buy, buy, buy!!!” mode of things, this type of event should start to sort out the athletes from the lesser, and the Arizona Cardinals do love athletic and strong.
Kenny Clark – NT
UCLA – Junior
6-2, 310 Pounds
73 tackles, 10.5 tfl, 5.5 sacks, 5 pd’s
Who: This young man seems very strong at the point of attack, has maybe the biggest arms (excluding Vernon Butler, Sheldon Rankins, and Landon Turner), and makes for an interesting prospect. He obviously is going for the top honor, most bench press, but that’s benching 225 52 times to beat Justin Ernest from 1999. Kenny Clark was on a lot of draft boards, being a potential top-15 selection with a rangy body type, athletic for a big boy, and very talented with pushing guys off the ball. I noticed that when he get’s those tree-trunk arms in the air, he smartly bats them down when he can, and that is one thing the Cardinals love to do (ask Calais Campbell). A UCLA junior with a knack for getting to the ball, he played on a team that had very little talent, especially when they lost Myles Jack after the first game. He piloted the front seven almost single-handily.
Why: The Cardinals are a team that needs to really get better at stopping those long runs, and no better spot then the middle of the 3-4 defense. I’m not sure if Kenny Clark would play nose tackle, I know that Rodney Gunter didn’t have a bad year, nor am I sure if Corey Peters is coming back, but either way the Cardinals need to get stronger up front. It seems like the only push from the front 3 or 4 is from Calais Campbell, while the rest of the defensive lineman are getting pushed back. Clark was the focus point on defense for the Bruins, so when or if he comes to Arizona, he won’t be keyed on.
When: Now that the draft is halfway here, it seems like prospects are going to be evaluated as first round selections now, but they might not be there in a month. Kenny Clark is a Dan Williams mold, he holds his block when needed, sometimes he can blow up the play, and he seems very versatile. I don’t want to say he is a first round lock, but I do have some kind of infatuation with his style of play. He plays hard, he plays in a destructive force, and he plays like a mad-man. I’d say at pick 29, we’d be getting a solid player. If he reached the 61st selection (second round), we would have hit gold.
Player Comparison: Domata Peko – Cincinnati Bengals
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