Defensive line is a tough position to draft for. Because of where they lined up in college, most prospects fit best at a specific position in the pros, like 4-3 defensive end or 3-4 nose tackle. But every now and then, a versatile and talented rookie like UCLA’s Kenny Clark comes along who can do it all.
“I played D-end, D-tackle, and nose guard — all three,” Clark said. “It wouldn’t be a big adjustment. Last year, I primarily played nose guard, but I focused in on the other positions around me because of how limited we were as far as numbers and experience.”
At 6’2, 310 pounds, and with plenty of room for growth on his 20-year-old frame, many teams see him working best as a 3-4 nose tackle. Clark credits a lot of his success at the nose to his past as a high school wrestling champ. It has helped him keep a low center of gravity and refuse to be pushed backwards by double teams.
But Clark is a lot more than your typical run-stuffing big man. He can get after the quarterback. To explode off the line during game day and wow scouts at the combine with his 40-yard dash, he has spent a lot of his pre-combine training improving his speed.
“I’ve worked a lot with sleds to get faster — just working on my technique,” Clark said. “After college, it was kind of hard switching from my old training techniques to new ones in six weeks, but I got it down.”
He got a lot done during his combine prep by staying calm, cool, and collected.
“I don’t really feel a lot of pressure,” he said. “I just need to be myself and talk to the coaches. I look forward to meeting them, just like I know they look forward to meeting me.”
That type of attitude will help Clark stand out this week in Indianapolis and throughout his career.