Kenny Clark

Packers To Exercise Kenny Clark’s Option

The Packers intend to exercise the fifth-year option on Kenny Clark‘s contract, GM Brian Gutekunst says (Twitter link via’s Rob Demovsky). The Packers technically have until the May 3 deadline to formally make the move. 

He’s a dominant player on the defensive front,” Gutekunst said of the defensive tackle.

Last year, Clark enjoyed a solid third pro season. The 23-year-old (24 in October) put up a career-high six sacks and matched his 2017 tackles total with 55. Unfortunately, his season was halted by an elbow injury in December, but he was Pro Football Focus’ No. 9 ranked interior lineman in the NFL when he was placed on IR.

After a strong showing in 2018, picking up Clark’s option was something of a no-brainer for Green Bay brass. With the move, the young standout will be under contract through the 2020 season.

You can keep track of every fifth-year option decision in the NFL with PFR’s handy tracker.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Packers Place DL Kenny Clark On IR

A week after shutting down defensive tackle Kenny Clark for the season with an elbow injury, the team officially placed him on injured reserve on Tuesday, ESPN’s Field Yates tweets

He will be replaced on the roster by tackle Alex Light, who is coming off a one-game PED suspension, ESPN’s Rob Demovsky tweets.

The injury that sidelined the breakout defensive lineman is not expected to need surgery, but with the Packers officially out of the playoff race, the team decided to sit him for the final three games.

In his third season in the league, Clark, 23, enjoyed his finest as a pro, boasting a career-high six sacks and equalling last’s season’s personal best of 55 tackles. The 2016 first-round pick emerged as the anchor of the Packers defensive line and as one of the league’s best all-around defensive tackles. When he went down with an injury, Clark was ranked by Pro Football Focus as the league’s ninth-best interior lineman.

In May, the Packers are expected to pick up his fifth-year option that will keep him in Green Bay through the 2020 campaign.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Packers To Place DL Kenny Clark On IR

Kenny Clark emerged to become one of the league’s top interior linemen this season, but the third-year Packer’s slate will conclude early.

Green Bay plans to place Clark on IR, Tom Pelissero of tweets. The Packers’ nose tackle is dealing with an elbow injury, but Pelissero adds that malady will not require surgery. But with the Packers set to miss the playoffs for a second straight year, they will shut down one of their top young talents.

Clark’s year will close with a career-high six sacks, to go along with two fumble recoveries. Pro Football Focus graded Clark’s 13-game 2018 work sample as the ninth-best thus far by an interior lineman.

The Packers seemingly have an easy decision on Clark’s fifth-year option in May. That would extend his rookie contract through the 2020 season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Bears, Floyd, Redskins, Pryor

Bears coach John Fox says linebacker Leonard Floyd is going to miss some time, but he would not commit to putting Floyd on injured reserve when speaking to reporters on Monday (Twitter link via Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune). That’s because the team believes that he does not have a torn ACL, so a return later in the year is still possible. All in all, it’s good news for Floyd after he was carted off the field in Sunday’s loss to the Lions.

Here’s more from the NFC:

  • Redskins wide receiver Terrelle Pryor is getting arthroscopic surgery on his ankle, a source tells Mike Jones of the Washington Post (on Twitter). Doctors should have a better idea of his recovery timetable after he goes under the knife. Pryor, a big free agent signing, has yet to really shine in Washington. To date, he has 20 catches for 240 yards with one touchdown in nine games.
  • Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston‘s shoulder was re-evaluated today and he is not ready to return, head coach Dirk Koetter tells reporters (Twitter link via Jenna Laine of Winston will be out this week against the Falcons, but doctors will check him out next week.
  • Cardinals coach Bruce Arians says Blaine Gabbert will start again this week (Twitter link via Darren Urban of The plan, he says, is to stick with him until Drew Stanton is totally healthy. Gabbert completed 22-of-34 of his passes for 257 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions, both occurring late in the game. He did a solid job overall, but the Cardinals wound up falling short and falling to 4-6 on the year.
  • Packers defensive lineman Kenny Clark suffered a high-ankle sprain on Sunday, a source tells Ian Rapoport of (on Twitter). The injury does not appear to be a season-ender, but he may miss multiple games.

Impact Rookies: Green Bay Packers

The old adage that defense wins championships may or may not be true, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a title-winning team that didn’t build heavily through the draft. Rookie classes, naturally, are evaluated on the perceived upside of the NFL newcomers, but which rookies are ready to contribute right out of the gate? And, how do they fit in with their new team schematically?

To help us forecast the immediate future of these NFL neophytes, we enlisted the help of draft guru Dave-Te Thomas who has served as a scouting personnel consultant to NFL teams for multiple decades.

First Round – Kenny Clark, DL (UCLA, No. 27 overall)

Sometimes, even big men fly under the radar, as seems to be the case with this Bruins standout. Named his team’s MVP, he was a dominating force in the middle of the line, taking over starting duties as a sophomore. Well-respected by the staff and teammates, the co-captain preferred to not be in the limelight. However, NFL scouts saw him as a bright light on a dark night. Kenny Clark

In three seasons, Clark delivered 153 tackles with six sacks and 18.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage. In his two seasons as a starter, he delivered 117 of those tackles in run force, posted a total of 28 hits for losses (assists and solos) while bringing down twelve other ball carriers for no gain. Twenty-four of those stops came inside the red zone, including seven on goal-line stands.

Clark has really come on strong in recognizing blocking schemes and it was rare to see him bite on misdirection or play action during his junior season. He has no problems taking plays from the chalkboard to the playing field, needing minimal reps to retain. He plays with very good awareness, taking advantage of his impressive arm length to keep blockers off his feet and legs. The UCLA product demonstrated that he picks up schemes quickly and he does well staying with the flow of the play to close on the ball.

Clark has a very explosive initial step with quick feet, good athleticism and balance for his size, along with the body control and low pad level to come off the snap and get an immediate advantage versus a lethargic offensive lineman. He flashes a strong, consistent hand punch, enough to consistently put the blocker up on his heels, driving with good leverage walking that lineman back into the pocket. He has that initial burst needed on movement and the suddenness to gain advantage when engaging double teams. He has good initial quickness coming off the snap and for a player of his size, that burst can surprise an offensive lineman.

Clark appears poised to show that he should have gone earlier than No. 27 in this year’s draft. Word out of Green Bay is that Clark will start at nose tackle in the base 3-4 and his skill set plus versatility will ensure that he sees plenty of time on the field as an NFL frosh.

Continue reading about the Packers’ rookies..

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Packers Sign Kenny Clark, Wrap Up Draft Class

The Packers have locked up first-round pick Kenny Clark, the last member of their seven-player 2016 draft class to sign, reports Rob Demovsky of

Kenny Clark

Clark, a 6-foot-3, 314-pounder from UCLA, became the 27th selection in the draft after racking up 73 tackles and 5.5 sacks en route to third-team All-America honors last season. During his three-year career with the Bruins, Clark amassed 159 tackles (20 for loss) and 6.5 sacks.

According to figures from Over the Cap, Clark is in line for a four-year deal worth up to $9.36MM, including a signing bonus in excess of $5MM. His pact also includes the customary fifth-year option for first-round picks. Now that Clark has put pen to paper, the Chargers’ Joey Bosa, the Jets’ Derron Lee, the Texans’ Will Fuller and the 49ers’ Joshua Garnett are the only first-rounders who haven’t signed their rookie deals.

Here is the complete rundown of the Packers’ 2016 rookie class:

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Rookie Notes: Jets, Lions, Vikings, Packers

Terron Beckham, the cousin of All-Pro wideout Odell Beckham Jr., got a workout with the Jets this past week. Despite having not played football since high school, Beckham believes he has the skill set to be an NFL running back. However, he’ll first have to overcome rumors of his steroid use.

“It’s tough because I work so hard. I worked that hard all my life. And you can’t just change people’s minds,” Beckham told Darryl Slater of “If they feel like, ‘What you look like or what you do, you can’t do that without having whatever substances.’ It’s crazy. All I have to say is that I’m here, and they’ve done their tests or whatever. I’m cool. I’ve never had to do anything, and I’m fine. I have great genetics. I work hard. And that’s all I have to say about that. I just kind of leave [those questions] alone now. I used to try to explain everything, but I’m like, ‘I’m just blessed and I work hard.’”

Let’s take a look at some more rookie notes from around the league…

  • Vikings punter Jeff Locke isn’t guaranteed to make the squad, as the organization brought in a pair of rookie punters to compete for the job. As Mark Craig of the Star Tribune writes, Texas Tech’s Taylor Symmank and West Virginia’s Nick O’Toole will first have to compete with each other. “Talking with [coach Mike Zimmer], he said Jeff has one more year on his contract and we’ll see what happens,” O’Toole said. “He said for me and Taylor to come in and compete and whoever is the better punter this weekend will be signed and that guy is going to compete with Jeff. And that guy could win the job or he could just have his name out there for other teams to see.”
  • Packers general manager Ted Thompson made the right choice by not drafting UCLA linebacker Myles Jack, writes Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel. Injuries concerns led the Packers to select nose tackle Kenny Clark in the first round, while Jack fell to the second round.
  • Despite using a first-round pick on offensive lineman Taylor Decker, there’s uncertainty in the Lions organization regarding which position the Ohio State product will ultimately play. “Like most positions that we have, we want to really find out what they’re all about from a physical standpoint within our system,” said head coach Jim Caldwell (via’s Michael Rothstein). “We certainly know outside of it, so we’ll work fundamentals, techniques. Most of those guys are guys that have some flexibility involved in what they do and how they do it, and you have to at that position. So, we want to see.”

AFC South Notes: Watt, Jaguars, Titans, Draft

Will Texans defensive lineman J.J. Watt retire sooner rather than later? It’s probably too early to make any assumptions about how many years the perennial All-Pro has left, but as James Palmer of the NFL Network tweets, Watt did tell SportsRadio 610 in Houston that he won’t be one of those players who attempts to extend his career as long as possible.

Here are several more items from out of the AFC South…

Draft Notes: Collins, Clark, Howard

Defensive tackle Maliek Collins announced that he is entering the NFL Draft and foregoing his senior season at Nebraska, as Sam McKewon of the World-Herald writes.

It’s always been a dream of mine, and I got a good grade back (from the NFL’s draft advisory board),” Collins said when asked why he’s headed to the NFL one year early. “I talked it over with my teammates and I talked it over with Coach (Mike) Riley and it seems like the best decision for me.”

Collins, a team captain in 2015, racked up 29 total tackles with 2.5 sacks this season. Many have projected that Collins will go in the first round of the NFL Draft this season and his grade from the NFL draft advisory board likely supported that forecast.

Here’s the latest NFL Draft news:

  • UCLA Bruins junior defensive tackle Kenny Clark announced on Twitter that he will skip his senior year to declare for the draft. NFL talent evaluators are high on the 6’3″, 310-pound junior and he could wind up being a late first-round pick. Clark recorded a sack and season-high eight solo tackles in UCLA’s bowl loss to Nebraska on Dec. 26. For the season, he had 47 tackles and six sacks.
  • Indiana junior running back Jordan Howard announced that he will forego his senior season and enter the 2016 Draft. A first team All-Big Ten selection, Howard entered the bowl season second in the Big Ten with 134.8 rushing yards per game (9th nationally) and 146.6 all-purpose yards per game (15th). Injuries have been an issue for Howard in the past, but he is considered by some to be one of the five best tailbacks in this year’s class. One has to imagine that his medical exams will play a big factor in where he lands.
  • University of Miami junior cornerback Artie Burns announced that he has elected to forgo his final year of college eligibility and declare for the draft. “After considering all the options, and looking into my future, I feel it is in my best interest to forego my senior year and declare for the NFL Draft,” Burns said in a statement. “I can’t put into words what these past three years have meant to me in my development as a football player but even more importantly as a man.” Burns could wind up as a consensus top five corner in this year’s class depending on what others at his position do.
  • Arizona Wildcats wide receiver Cayleb Jones took to Twitter to announce that he is going pro. The 6’3″ athlete is rated as the No. 23 junior wide receiver prospect by and he appears to be taking a risk by jumping to the NFL. Jones originally committed to the Texas and played in 10 games as a frosh before transferring to Arizona and sitting out for one year. While at Texas, Jones picked up a felony assault charge that was ultimately reduced to a misdemeanor.
  • The Texas Longhorns announced that junior defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway has decided to go pro. An honorable mention All-Big 12 selection in 2015, Ridgeway played in 36 career games with 18 starts. In that time, he recorded 92 tackles with 9.5 sacks, 18.5 tackles for loss and two fumble recoveries. Ridgeway is rated as the No. 5 nose tackle by and his stock could rise if any of the three underclassmen ranked ahead of him opt to stay in school.
  • Washington junior running back Dwayne Washington will forgo his senior season and enter the NFL Draft, as Adam Jude of the Seattle Times writes. Washington did not play in UW’s final four games because of a knee injury, an issue which required minor surgery. The tailback started six games for UW this season and finished as UW’s second-leading rusher with 282 yards. His seven total touchdowns were also second-most on the team. Washington garnered attention in 2014 when he converted from wide receiver to running back, though his frame still looks like that of a receiver.

Extra Points: Falcons, White, Draft

The Falcons held a players-only meeting Monday in hopes of getting back on track for the stretch run, according to team sources who spoke with Vaughn McClure of Under first-year head coach Dan Quinn, the Falcons have dropped four consecutive games and they find themselves on the outside-looking-in for the final playoff spots in the NFC. Players-only meetings can sometimes indicate that a coach’s hold on the locker room is in jeopardy, but that does not seem to be the case at all for Quinn.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • LSU cornerback Tre’Davious White is “entertaining the idea of staying in school,” Rand Getlin of tweets. That doesn’t mean White is staying in school, but he’s at least giving it some thought. White could be rated as one of the best defensive backs in this year’s class if he goes pro.
  • UCLA defensive lineman Kenny Clark has indicated to multiple sources that he’s strongly considering entering the NFL Draft, according to Rand Getlin of (on Twitter). Getlin adds that NFL talent evaluators are high on the 6’3″, 310-pound junior.
  • South Carolina linebacker Skai Moore is leaning towards entering the 2016 draft, team sources and family members tell Matt Miller of Bleacher Report (on Twitter). Moore led the Gamecocks in tackles all three of his collegiate seasons and finished this year with 111 tackles.
  • Oklahoma State defensive lineman Emmanuel Ogbah has indicated to multiple sources that he’s currently leaning towards entering the draft, Getlin tweets. In fact, Ogbah and his family have already had preliminary meetings with agents (link).