NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Gerken
I think one thing we can all agree on is that throughout the 2015 season, the Patriots offensive line didn’t play real well. There were several factors that led to this, but one thing is for sure, it needs to be fixed. Can that happen with the guys currently on the roster? Maybe, but if not, then the draft is the most likely place to find that help. With that in mind, I decided to give Texas Tech offensive lineman Le’Raven Clark a closer look and here is what I saw on tape.
Name: Le’Raven Clark (#62)
School: Texas Tech (Sr.)
Height: 6’5″ (Senior Bowl)
Weight: 312 Lbs. (Senior Bowl)
Most of Clark’s positives are physical. He has prototypical size from a height and weight standpoint. His weight is well distributed and has a large frame that could handle additional weight without the worry of losing his athleticism. He has freakishly long arms (36 1/4″) and a huge overall wingspan (85 7/8″). With that type of length, Clark should be able to keep any and all defenders off of him and his QB. On tape, Clark shows quick feet out of his stance. Clark plays loose and shows a good combination of flexibility, athleticism, and strength.
Oh boy, where to start. First off, Clark played in a system that had him in a 2 point stance, so he will need to learn how to play from a 3 point stance. Clark is never the aggressor. His first step seems to be backwards in both run and pass plays. He reacts to what the defender does rather than dictating what he wants the defender to do. He does not take advantage of his long arms near enough, allowing defenders to get into his chest way too often. He has good lower body bend, but plays with his chest exposed, allowing defenders to push him back and get him off balance. He has to improve his footwork as well. He takes too many short, choppy steps and he doesn’t cover as much ground as he could. In the run game, he gets impatient in his blocks and gets his shoulders too far over his feet. Clark must work on hand use and placement as well, but that ties back to him not extending his arms. He does not show an aggressive demeanor in his blocks.
Clark has raw skills and freakish size that are so tantalizing. I found myself so frustrated watching his tape because you can see that he has the size and athleticism to be a very good Tackle in the NFL. His technique is just so underdeveloped that I worry how long, if ever, it will be developed enough for him to contribute on the field. At the Senior Bowl, he kept getting beat inside, and for a guy with his length, that should never happen. If he would just force everything to the outside, he could use his long arms to keep defenders away from the QB. If a team is patient enough and Clark is willing to put in the work and learn, then someone will have a steal on their hands down the road. Right now, Clark is a project that needs time in an NFL system before he can be asked to contribute. Because of that, he gets a Day 3 grade for me, and I would start to target him in the 6th.