Will Clarke NFL Draft 2014: Highlights, Scouting Report for Bengals DE

Darren PageFeatured ColumnistMarch 27, 2014

Will Clarke, DE, West Virginia (HT: 6’6⅛”; WT: 271 lbs.)

Cincinnati Bengals

Third Round: 88th Pick

Combine Weigh-In
HeightWeightArmHand
606127134 5/8"9 7/8"
NFL.com
Combine Workout
40-yd dash10-yd splitVertBroad3-ConeBench
4.771.6332"9'4"7.2622
NFL.com

Positives

  • Tremendous overall length. 
  • Immense upper-body strength, can overwhelm blockers with powerful hands. 
  • Generates strength from his lower half more than expected given his frame. 
  • Plays with commendable leverage despite being a tall defensive lineman. 
  • Terrific snap anticipation and first-step quickness. 
  • Converts speed to power well and gets pass-blockers on their heels often. 
  • Flashes a shoulder dip and rip through the outside shoulder of offensive tackles. 
  • Effective in showings as an interior pass-rusher, consistently presses the pocket with a bull rush. 
  • Uses length to gets hands up when he doesn’t get home as a rusher, prolific deflecting passes. 
  • Disruptive when shooting inside gaps, unaffected by the hands of blockers when he gets a step. 
  • Jolts run-blockers with his hands to reset the line of scrimmage on first contact. 
  • Can create congestion at the line of scrimmage and engage two blockers well. 
  • Saw many double-teams and chips, still quite disruptive.

 

 

Negatives

  • Does too much guessing, play-recognition skills are subpar. 
  • Heavy-footed mover, doesn’t have short-area quickness to keep blockers guessing. 
  • Inconsistent to poor hand usage in general, often rushing with his hands at his sides. 
  • Exposes his chest to blockers regularly, easy target for their hands. 
  • Stiff in the knees and ankles, limits ability to turn the corner quickly as a rusher. 
  • Doesn’t hit a second gear to accelerate past blockers and make the most of his quick first step. 
  • Pass-rush moves get predictable or repetitive for stretches. 
  • Struggles to extend his hands and keep run-blockers off his chest. 
  • Doesn’t shed blocks quickly, too often hung up and can’t control gaps from a head-up alignment. 
  • Struggles to recover when a run-blocker gets his head across and walls off. 
  • Very hit or miss as a tackler, often lets sacks or tackles slip from his grasp by aiming too high and not breaking down. 
  • Needs to improve his finishing of plays, often gets himself into position to make plays and doesn't finish.

 

Collegiate Statistics
YearTeamTacklesTFLSacksFFPD
2011WVU345201
2012WVU266.51.504
2013WVU5017613
http://www.sports-reference.com/

 

Personal Notes

  • A 2-star prospect in recruiting class of 2009, unranked by Rivals
  • 2013 second-team All-Big 12. 
  • Three-time “Iron Mountaineer” honoree for weight room excellence. 
  • Missed Texas Tech game with an undisclosed injury as a junior. 
  • Hampered for majority of 2010 season with an ankle injury.

 

Ratings Chart

 

Overall

Will Clarke was one of the few bright spots on a porous West Virginia defense in 2013.  His production doesn’t blow anyone away, but the attention he got has a lot to do with it.  Projecting him to the NFL is relatively cut and dry.  Clarke should be viewed as the type of end who can be developed into a rotational No. 3 edge-rusher who can platoon on the interior in a four-man front.  It’s all about development of hand usage and maximizing his length and natural power.

 

Draft Projection: Fourth Round

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