Seahawks’ Frank Clark could win rookie of the year

Seattle's second-round pick DE Frank Clark appears poised for a big rookie season.

| 1 year ago
(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Seahawks’ Frank Clark could win rookie of the year

Frank Clark had his share of off-field concerns prior to the 2015 NFL draft (Clark was arrested for domestic violence during his final season at Michigan and dismissed from the football team, before ultimately pleading guilty to a fourth-degree misdemeanor), and that’s why he slipped to the Seahawks with the No. 63 overall pick. But if you look only at on-field performance, the Seahawks may have the steal of the draft based on how he has played this preseason.

He was the top-graded 4-3 defensive end in the NFL over the preseason, earning positive grades for both pass-rush and run defense. His run defense was particularly dominating, making him look like Raiders LB Khalil Mack had switched uniforms as he rampaged through the Seattle offense in their final preseason game.

If you look back at his college tape, you’ll see the same dominance we saw this preseason. In 10 games he was the seventh-best 4-3 defensive end in the nation, playing 250 fewer snaps than anybody else on that list and 521 fewer than Ohio State’s Joey Bosa, who topped it. Clark earned impressive grades against the run and pass, notching only five sacks, but adding five knockdowns and 25 additional hurries as well as batting down three passes.

Clark didn’t just produce against weak opponents, either, notching big games against Notre Dame, Penn State and Utah (whose left tackle Jeremiah Poutasi was drafted by the Titans).

Players slip in the draft for a multitude of reasons, and sometimes they have nothing to do with ability on the field. Clark’s issues caused him to slip to the bottom of the second round, but from what we’re seeing on tape he is a top-10 talent and could be in the mix for rookie of the year honors.

| Senior Analyst

Sam is a Senior Analyst at Pro Football Focus, as well as a contributor to ESPN.

  • steve smith

    Frank the Tank is a beast!

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  • Brandon

    I’ve kind of been waiting to see someone else mention that Clark(or Lockett) is a viable candidate for ROTY. It seems like everyone has written them off the board for not being a top pick

  • KWS13

    For fun lets see BEST case scenario-

    Lockett: OROTY
    Clark: DROTY
    Wagner: DPOTY
    Lynch: OPOTY
    Wilson: MVP
    2015 SEA: SB 50 winners

    I’m calling it right now

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    • Jay Bee

      zero correct. yikes

      • KWS13

        Not gonna lie, gotta laugh looking back. I did say it was for fun, like this:

        Bennett: DPOTY
        Wilson: MVP/OPOTY
        Graham: ComebackPOTY
        2016 SEA: SB LI winners

        These are actually much more likely than mine above in retrospect.

  • Rob

    I love the Khalil Mack reference!

  • Rob

    Realistically though, this guy would’ve defiantly been a top 10 pic if not top 5 if it weren’t for the off-field issues. Guys at 270 running 4.60’s with with 34 3/8 inch arms just don’t come around that often and when they do they’re swiped up quick.

    • Brian Nagy

      I followed the mock drafts all the time and still never heard of this guy. I guess because he wasn’t playing at Michigan? Saw him in the preseason and thought he was fantastic.

      • dsoebb

        His domestic violence charge occurred right at the end of his final season at Michigan. He only missed one game after being kicked off the team. He started at DE for several seasons there, and earned a huge reputation. I think a lot of mock drafters weren’t putting his name in because of the severity of his charge. It was also his second crime committed as a college athlete. Earlier he had stolen a computer from the room of a fellow student. Some thought he would go totally undrafted because of the domestic violence issue, which was a pretty nasty case. He punched his girlfriend in a hotel room in front of a couple of young kids, after drinking copious amounts of liquor. She didn’t end up pressing charges, but he could have easily gone to jail.

        If you had been following draft projections from earlier in the season, or the prior year, his name would have been consistently amongst the top first round prospects. Frank Clark was a known commodity amongst NFL scouts.