Cameron Clark is a big kid (6’ 4” 308 lbs). He is also humble. He has worked hard to become a better player. He didn’t realize he had a shot of playing in the NFL until Larry Ogunjobi was drafted (first player ever from UNC Charlotte drafted into the NFL). This was a launching point. It gave his the confidence that he too could make it to the NFL.
“I remember it, not just because we’re from the same area but also because he was the first from Charlotte. When Larry got drafted it was almost emotional for me. Just seeing him on that big screen, whenever I needed motivation I would look back on that (YouTube) video of him getting drafted” he said.
Last year Nate Davis was drafted into the NFL from Charlotte, taken in the 3rd round by the Tennessee Titans. Davis getting drafted gave Clark even more motivation.
He doesn’t forget all the people who helped him along the way. “I’ve been surrounded by great people. A lot of times you hear “self-made” this or “I did” that, but nobody accomplishes anything great on their own. I have great parents, have had great coaches” he said.
Clark started his college career slow. He played in 12 games as a freshman in 2016 but only had two starts. The next year he played in 12 games starting 8 at left tackle. He played so well he was named the team’s offensive MVP. The following year he was the highest graded offensive lineman (any position) in Conference USA.
He finished his career having played in 49 games (a record for UNC Charlotte). He started 31 straight games (35 total), made First Team All Conference his last two years, and was on the Dean’s List.
Clark is a versatile player. He was an All State center in high school. He played left tackle for the 49ers for 4 years, but he also can play at guard. He has a lean, powerful upper body with great length. His lateral movement is poor so coaches told him to work on that part of his game. Flexibility and short area quickness are his focus right now.
He went on to say, “What I’ve been working on since the combine is my change of direction, all the muscles around your groin, the inside of your legs, and playing with better knee bend and hip bend. A lot of flexibility comes from your ankles, too. I had injured both of my ankles in college, so I’m really stretching my ankles. It’s a lot of barefoot work in the grass, and I probably stretch three times a day for about 20 minutes.”
Here Clark is against Tennessee. He is the left tackle #71 going against a 6’ 2” 284 lbs DE in Ja’Quain Blakely. Clark has strong hands that are like catchers mitts (11”). Once he can square you up then get his hands on you it’s going to be a rough time.
He keeps his feet moving, but if he used a wider base with shorter steps he would be able to control his man better. As it is he does a good job of keeping his man far from the action which is all he really needs to do.
This next clip is of a combo block where he and the guard destroy the right side defensive tackle. Then he moves on to the backside linebacker. These are common blocks in the NFL so proficiency is crucial.
He is much taller than both men so he does a good job of staying low to increase his leverage. The tackle and the linebacker get moved back considerably on the play. If Clark does move inside this is more of the type of blocking that he will be doing, not using a kick slide to keep his man outside the pocket.
On this next play Clark come off a little high on the running play so the defensive end is able to get under his pads which stops his block momentarily. He keeps his arms inside though so he is able to control his man without letting him slide off.
He uses his prodigious upper body strength to press the defender back. Once he has the defender squared up he is able to reestablish good body position to drive his man off the ball. He is able to take the defensive end back a good 3 yards before the play is over. You also see how he can keep the defender off his chest. He does that with superior arm strength plus his excellent length.
Again this is how he would look if he moves inside as a guard. Length isn’t as important to an interior offensive lineman, but you can see they do come in handy. He has good (not great) lower body power, but he can also build his strength as a pro. Any lateral movement deficiencies he has are also lessened inside.
This next clip is pretty straight forward. If is another combo block with the line slanting to the right. Once he gets the tackle moving back on the double team he is off to the second level to pick up the backside linebacker.
You can see Clark has good movement skills moving forward which he could use in any scheme. His lateral agility is a question, but that can be helped by doing the correct drills. He also would be good on short pulls and inside zone plays. When he gets to the second level the backside linebacker scrapes too shallow so he is a non factor. He then does a nice job of picking up the safety. The smaller player is more difficult for him to catch, but he latches on so the safety is also out of the play.
The next play you will see an awesome punch that will stun the defensive end stopping him in his tracks. His knee actually buckles. This is a two handed punch that is aimed at the top of the number on the defender’s jersey.
Once the defender’s momentum is stopped all Clark has to do is square him up then grab inside the pads on the defensive end’s chest and control him. By the end the defender has little left. He is left on the ground.
These next 5 clips are against Clemson who played for the National Championship this year. Of course Charlotte was beaten soundly, but Clark looked very good in this game. This shows you what happens when you line up a 245 lb defensive end as an outside rusher against Clark. Clemson was trying early in this game (This is the first play from scrimmage.) to see if they could get the corner with just speed.
Well that didn’t work as the defensive end was thrown down like a rag doll. Clark makes quick work of him almost like he was upset that Clemson thought he could be beaten by a lesser player. He tosses the smaller man a few feet right off the snap.
The next clip Clemson still has the smaller defensive end lined up outside (only a few plays later), but this time Clark shows you some of the nastiness he can play with.
Again at the snap he tosses the light DE a few yards away from the play. Yet he continues at him, driving him back until he runs him over the pile then lands on him with all his weight. It is nice to see, a salty disposition is a solid attribute, one that will endear him to his offensive line coach.
This next play Clark is going up against a larger but still undersized defensive end who is 6’ 2” 260 lbs. He is about 15 lbs heavier than his predecessor, but it makes little difference in the outcome.
Again some of the feistiness comes out as the the defensive end is dumped on the ground like yesterday’s garbage. This is Clemson they are playing so you know all these players are exceptional athletes who Clark is manhandling.
The next play Clark has responsibilities of the widest man on the line. When A. J. Terrell comes on the rush Clark has to take him. Even though Terrell is 6’ 1” he is only 190 lbs.
Terrell is a quick cornerback, but Clark squares him up quickly then escorts him out of the picture in rapid fashion. The fact he was able to take out such a elusive player is a testament to his agility in short areas. This will serve him well if he is moved inside. The flag by the way was on the defense.
In this last clip Clark is going up against someone his own size in a 6’ 4” 285 lbs defensive tackle. Watch how he controls him at arm’s length with his long arms.
Now he actually comes off the ball a little high, but the tackle does the same so he loses all the leverage he could of had. This is something Clark will have to work on as a guard as leverage is crucial to winning on the interior line.
Cameron Clark is a good looking developmental prospect who could be a target in the mid to late rounds. I don’t think he has the kind of mobility to play as a tackle. Since he was an All State Center in high school I’m sure the team that drafts him will see whether he can be useful as a center in a pinch. Versatility is always a plus.
As of now I have him as a late 5th round guard prospect, but Clark could be drafted a whole round earlier. Offensive lineman are hard to find so there will be many drafted early this year. He has a lean frame that could hold another 20 lbs of muscle so a team might not consider him a finished product.
That’s what I think.
What do you think?