The idea of drafting Will Clarke to be the ROLB is growing on me. Clarke was a DE/DT for West Virginia. That makes sense for a guy who is 6-6, 271. Clarke flashed at both the Shrine Game and Senior Bowl, but I was stuck on the idea of him as a DE, even in the 3-4. I didn’t like him as a fit for the Eagles.
Moving him to LB is a different story. I hadn’t even considered the idea until I read Tony Pauline’s report that the Eagles worked him out as a LB. Here is the workout, which was run by Eagles OLB coach Bill McGovern. (Clarke is the tall guy with long hair)
You can see that he is a good athlete. Clarke isn’t your typical 6-6, 271 guy. He’s not a freak athlete like Dion Jordan, but that’s okay. Jordan was the rare LB that could cover like a DB. Clarke has no coverage experience, but he is a good pass rusher. His sack total won’t blow you away, but part of that is due to WVa’s defense (scheme and lack of talent).
I think Clarke is an ascending player who could be a much better pro than college player. Put him on the edge and let him rush. Put some good players around him and I think he’ll be that much more effective.
Clarke would appeal to the Eagles because of his size and versatility. He has the kind of build that Chip Kelly would love in an OLB. He’s basically the same size as Clyde Simmons, if that helps to put things in perspective. Clarke played all over at WV. He was on the left side and right side. He was DT and DE. He lined up out wide and in tight. When you put on the tape, you’re going to see Dee Ford at the same spot almost every play. Clarke moves around, which is something the Eagles like.
What is his draft value? Interesting question. I think Clarke will go in the 3rd or 4th round. I’d have no problem with the Eagles using their 3rd rounder on him. This, of course, assumes there are no character issues or anything like that.
Of course I’d prefer for the Eagles to get Anthony Barr or Jeremiah Attaochu and guys on that level, but Clarke has really grown on me as a non-1st round target. I’d much rather the Eagles take a chance on Clarke than someone like Demarcus Lawrence, who doesn’t stand out to me at all. There is risk with Clarke, but you could always try to bulk him up and move him to DE if the LB experiment failed.
Here is a game.
And here are some highlights.
Don’t expect to see some dominant player that will blow your socks off. There is a reason he’s being looked at in the 3rd/4th round area. Clarke is talented and has potential, but does need some work. I also think WV mis-used him by playing him in traffic so much. He looks much more natural in space.