2014 NFL Draft Player Profiles – West Virginia DE Will Clarke

By Alex Kozora

With the regular season over, our focus has shifted to the offseason. For the next few months, I’ll be providing scouting reports on prospects. Some the Pittsburgh Steelers may look at and other top players that will be off the board before the Steelers select. All to make you as prepared as possible for the 2014 NFL Draft.

Heading back to the trenches to evaluate West Virginia defensive end Will Clarke.

Will Clarke/DE West Virginia: 6’6 273

The Good

– Tons of length and a frame to be grown in to

– Very long arms

– Flashes of dominance

– Capable of getting arms extended

– Seems to understand leverage, hand placement

– Quality strength, holds POA well

– Can shed in the run game

– Above average athlete

– Possesses short-area quickness, ability to close

– Keeps his lower half moving, legs don’t stop

– Flashes good first punch

– Versatile, lined up at multiple techs on both sides of the field

– Good amount of starting experience

The Bad

– Maddingly inconsistent

– Doesn’t always show the tools he has

– Not an elite athlete

– Can get stuck as a pass rusher, needs to use his hands more and develop more of an arsenal

– Stiff rushing around the edge, size prevents hip bend

– Can get pushed upfield as a consequence

– Needs to add more bulk to his frame

–  Too finesse at times, won’t always show his strength

– Won’t always stay square to the ball, get turned around and/or washed

– Questionable motor, won’t always chase plays down

– Only one year of true production

Other

– 34 career starts

– 17 TFL, 6 sacks senior year

– Combined 11.5 TFL, 3.5 sacks prior two years

– 2nd Team All Big 12 in 2013

– Missed one game to injury in 2012

– Limited by ankle issue in 2010

– Local product, went to Taylor Allerdice High School

– Played in a 3-4 defense last two years

– Father played basketball at Duquesne

Tape Breakdown

Big area to focus on is Clarke’s inconsistency. He has the tools, his size and length are rare, but doesn’t always put them on display.

Reverse pancakes the left end (Clarke is #98) and then rips the quarterback’s helmet off, forcing an incomplete pass. Plays that make you feel like you’re watch tape of Jadeveon Clowney.

Gets into the right tackle’s pads, keeps his lower half churning, and knocks the offensive lineman to the ground. Can’t finish the sack but flushes the QB and forces him to run for a short gain.

Knocks the right tackle off balance with his punch below.

He’s best against the run. Really like his strength and recognize he can get even stronger if he wants to add weight to his frame.

At left end, holding the point, shedding, and helping to make the tackle.

Holds the point against the right guard, pushing him back a yard.

Because of his size and the fact he’s so long, he has trouble with speed rushes. Similar to what was seen with Jarvis Jones, can get pushed upfield.

Does end up recording pressure but generated because of the left tackles lack of lateral movement. Clarke still can’t bend and dip.

Trying to rip but can’t quite turn and get the edge. QB able to climb and make the throw.

A still shot to illustrate it.

Clarke5_zpsf882fcb8

Must use his bull rush a lot more as a pass rusher. Will never be a great threat coming off the edge despite being a good athlete. Simply doesn’t have the bend.

Against Texas, he was struggling to stay square against the run. Got turned and washed repeatedly. Examples below.

Tight end driving him out of the play.

Run action and he gets completely turned around.

Clarke4_zpse3ac289c

Not an issue of staying square but seemingly a lack of strength on these next two plays. In the first, he may be watching out for a screen, but no way he should get pushed downfield like this.

Gets a gift, rushing against a running back, but the back wins this battle. Stonewalls him. Strange.

Schematically, his versatility is a big plus. Lined up all over the defensive line. Used on stunts and appeared to be in man coverage on the running back once against Texas.

Clarke1_zpsfe49c8b1

Clark2_zps1b5f8ed7

Clarke3_zpsaef9e138

Fits into a 3-4 end at either spot or in a 4-3 at left end. Can kick inside to tackle in subpackages. Adds to his value.

The flashes are enticing but he must become more consistent. He’s a Day Three pick.

Projection: Mid 3rd-Early 4th

Games Watched: vs Oklahoma St, at TCU, vs Texas

Previous Scouting Reports:
Buffalo LB Khalil Mack
Illinois State T/G Josh Aladenoye
Penn State WR Allen Robinson
Stanford ILB Shayne Skov/a>
Florida State WR Kelvin Benjamin
North Carolina TE Eric Ebron
Auburn T Greg Robinson
Minnesota DT Ra’Shede Hageman
Notre Dame NT Louis Nix III
Auburn LB Dee Ford
Texas Tech TE Jace Amaro
North Dakota State T Billy Turner
Boston College RB Andre Williams
South Carolina DE Jadeveon Clowney
BYU OLB Kyle Van Noy
Pittsburgh DT Aaron Donald
Tennessee NT Daniel McCullers
Colorado State DE/OLB Shaquil Barrett
Alabama T Cyrus Kouandjio
Tennessee T Antonio Richardson
Central Florida RB Storm Johnson
Virginia Tech CB Kyle Fuller
Alabama S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix

Senior in college, blogging from mom's basement. Marrying tape and statistics. Chidi Iwuoma is my favorite Steeler of all-time.
  • Matt Manzo

    Do we think Arnfelt a DE or DT for us?

  • CuldesacBill

    I like those big, tall DL. Other options would be Brent Urban, Virginia; Taylor Hart, Oregon; Josh Mauro, Stanford; Deandra Coleman, California. They all would be available in rounds 3 – 5.

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    Not to derail this thread and I’m at work, so I’m trying to recap this much as possible; do you think by any chance that before NFL draft day you could do a profile on Adam Talaat? Just humor me- I’m deaf. He’s deaf and playing for Gallaudet University, now that doesn’t scream as a prospect who will stick to NFL roster but I have seen him, he’s a walking giant, at 6’6″ and 291 lbs he is built for 3-4 DE and with Derrick Coleman of Seahawks (whom also is deaf) i’d highly appreciate and very gratitude of an exposure. He flashes plenty of pass-rushing moves and does his assignment of absorbing blockers very well. Or.. I could do a profile on him if I have the merit to do so. Let me know!

  • Alex Kozora

    DE, definitely.

  • Alex Kozora

    Can appreciate the idea and I’d like to take a look at him but no clue where I could find film on him that isn’t a highlight reel. Didn’t see anything in a quick search for Gallaudet games.