On Thursday night, the Green Bay Packers made UCLA defensive tackle Kenny Clark the 27th overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, adding him to the Packers' defensive line rotation. General manager Ted Thompson took to the podium after the Packers made their selection to address the pick and give some insight into the player that they will get in Clark.
Here's what Thompson had to say.
Thanks for staying late. We were able to select Kenny Clark, UCLA> We're very excited about that. We weren't sure we'd have that opportunity. A fine young man. True junior, and even at that he was elected team captain ... I think that says a lot about him and his ability to interact with his teammates. He seemed very excited about being a new Packer when we spoke to him on the phone.
On how many players he and his team were considering at 27:
I don't know. There's all different kind of scenarios that you look at. People call about trades, trade scenarios, you look at who's left there. We felt very comfortable when we felt we were able to zero in on Kenny. We felt that's where we wanted to be.
On what makes Clark a good player and a good defensive lineman:
Just the whole thing. I'm not going to speak about any other players. Just the whole package. He's a natural athlete, moves really good. The workout sessions were excellent. Great flexibility, he weighs 315 pounds and (he's) not one of those guys who really looks it. We felt fortunate that he was there.
What position will Clark play? Nose? End?
Defensive lineman. We move those guys around anyway. I couldn't tell you. We just draft them.
Does Clark's wrestling background help him on the defensive line?
I think quite a bit. It's actually very common especially through the Midwest, football players and wrestlers kinda become one and the same, especially offensive and defensive linemen, because they do concentrate and learn about leverage.
Does draft strategy on days 2 and 3 change based on the first pick?
We take each pick in and of itself (is) important. So I don't know if we look at it that way. Tomorrow, we'll have picked twice unless we do some trades or something ... we're glad we drafted the young man we did today.
What made Clark stand out as the player that the Packers wanted?
A lot of stuff. The hand use, the leverage, he's very natural at that. He's got a really strong base, he's not easily moved. He's a 5-flat 40 guy at 315 pounds. Had a marvelous workout in Indianapolis and in Los Angeles at school. I know all the teams do exactly the same thing after the first day but we feel great that we were able to do what we did today.
Can he play on third downs and sub packages?
There's been a lot said about his pass-rushing. There weren't a lot of numbers there until this past year but this year showed he had that ability and that quickness.
Did Thompson attend UCLA's Pro Day in person?
I did not. I can't believe I volunteered that information.
Does Clark's youth affect your projection of him?
I think we all wish we were 19 or 20 years old, or whatever it is he is. He's excited about being in the NFL, he's dying to show us that this was a good pick and that he's a good player and is going to have a good career.
Does this pick fill a need and was that part of the thought process?
Yeah, theoretically, but still, we drafted this young man because we felt he was the best player available.
Were you close to any trades to move back?
In generalities, we took a few calls. We never got to a position where we wanted to pursue that. But we had some conversations.
Do you start to get excited when you see players falling in the draft?
You sit there for two hours, you don't even want to look at the names because you think you're going to jinx something.