When Kenny Clark came to UCLA he made an immediate impact.
As a freshman in 2013, he appeared in all 13 games and started 4 of them. He was named the Sun Bowl Most Valuable Lineman that year and he was presented the Ed Kezirian "Coach K" Award for Academic and Athletic Balance at the team banquet.
He started every game for the Bruins in both 2014 and 2015. Kenny was named to the All-Pac-12 Conference 2nd team in 2014 and was an All-Pac-12 1st team selection in 2015. He was an AP Third team All-American and appeared on the watch lists for the Bednarik, Nagurski, Outland and Lombardi Awards in 2015 while serving as a team co-captain.
But, for many Bruin fans, one of the pivotal moments had nothing to do with a football field. It came at the beginning of the 2014 season when the Pac-12 Network documented Kenny Clark's journey to UCLA including the fact that Clark's father is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole.
It was something most Bruin fans were not aware of. But, more importantly, it showed Kenny Clark's perseverance in the face of adversity. And it's a story that continues today, as ESPN's Outside The Lines recently showed as they profiled Clark and his family's struggle to prove Kenny Clark, Sr.'s innocence in the months leading up to the NFL Draft.
NFL Combine Results
|NFL Combine Tale of the Tape|
|Arm Length||32.125 inches|
|NFL Combine Physical Tests|
|40-Yard Dash||5.06 seconds|
|Bench Press||29 reps|
|Vertical Jump||28.5 inches|
|Broad Jump||102.0 inches|
|20-Yard Shuttle||4.62 seconds|
While the NFL Combine has a tendency to be a "meat market" with its measurements and physical tests, Clark shined at UCLA Pro Day. He did the three-cone drill in 7.73 seconds and, overall, his Pro Day workout helped his draft stock rise.
In addition to football, Kenny also wrestled in high school. His wrestling background translates well when grappling with opponents. He was a CIF wrestling champ at Rialto High School. UCLA Defensive Line Coach Angus McClure has said, "The techniques I teach, especially with nose guards having their weight on their in-step, being flat-footed, playing with great leverage — he learned a lot of that in wrestling."
Clark is able to fight off a double team or a trap block easily with his football instincts. He also does a good job of keeping his center of gravity low which makes it more difficult for opponents to block him effectively.
Kenny's biggest weakness is that he's small for a defensive tackle. If he had longer arm length, he would be a much more effective tackler.
CBS Sports suggests that Clark too often gets caught up in the hand-fighting at the line of scrimmage and occasionally is extended too far over his feet.
Peko was drafted in the fourth round out of Michigan State while Stanford grad Parry was drafted in the fifth round last year.
Kenny Clark is one of the best defensive linemen in this year's draft. What may ultimately work in his favor is that a team may grab him earlier because, at age 21, Clark has a large potential upside.
Three of CBS Sports's analysts think he will go in the late first round, but none of the NFL.com analysts are projecting Clark to go during the first round.
While it's possible that he could be a late first round pick, it's more likely that he will fall to the second round.