clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

2016 NFL Draft grades: Packers get a B for Kenny Clark

New, comments

Kenny Clark may lack flash, but he gives the Packers the defensive anchor they need.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Two days and six rounds remain of the 2016 NFL Draft, but every team save for the New England Patriots has made their highest-profile selection. For the Green Bay Packers, that pick became UCLA's Kenny Clark, a massive, athletic defensive tackle with much to learn but plenty of room to grow.

The selection fills a clear need on Green Bay's defense. Thinned out by the retirement of B.J. Raji and the four-game suspension for Mike Pennel, the unit badly needed an influx of bodies capable of eating blocks while occasionally providing some penetration, and Clark certainly fits the bill on paper. During his final season in Westwood, he racked up 10 1/2 tackles for loss, including 5 1/2 sacks. Few true nose tackles can offer that kind of production at the college or NFL level, which explains why Packers general manager Ted Thompson chose him over more well-known prospects like Alabama's Jarran Reed and A'Shawn Robinson or Baylor's Andrew Billings.

Still, the opportunity cost of selecting Clark at No. 27 over ūber-talented linebacker Myles Jack and others may ultimately prove costly. Rarely do the Packers find themselves in position to draft a consensus blue-chip player, and Jack's knee condition provided the perfect storm for him to fall into their hands. Given that 31 teams passed on him, it seems likely that Green Bay's medical staff did not clear him, leaving the linebacker off their board. Sometimes the risk is worth the reward, and Jack appears like the player worth the leap of faith.

Ultimately, the Packers made what appears to be a sensible selection with Clark that improves their roster. He lacks the flash fans often desire, but he could become a key cog in their defense for a decade or more.

Grade: B

Jason B. Hirschhorn is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and covers the NFL for Sports on Earth and SB Nation. He also serves as the senior writer and editor for Acme Packing Company, a Green Bay Packers blog.