Dallas Cowboys Draft Profile – Jerrod Clark, DT (The Monster)

Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports /

The Dallas Cowboys have a need for a big defensive tackle to help clog the middle of the line and hold gaps, especially against the run. When Jonathan Hankins went down last year this was an obvious issue against the run and teams used it to wear down an opportunistic Cowboys defense.

While the Cowboys could bring back Hankins, the depth behind him was an issue after the Cowboys lost John Ridgeway to Washington. The Cowboys have not traditionally valued a 1-technique defensive tackle in a while, they could add in the middle rounds.

Clark may be better suited as a 3-4 nose tackle, but he has enough explosiveness to be able to play a more traditional 1-technique in the defense. Clark can fill two holes which would allow the linebackers to attack gaps and not have to guess which gap to hit.

If they could find someone to play this role the run defense should get better quickly. It has been an issue and one they need to work on if they want to advance in the playoffs.

Jerrod Clark gives the Dallas Cowboys size and power in the middle of the line like they have not had in years, thus helping the run defense and the team overall.

Clark has a huge frame and the power to hold up against the more powerful linemen at the next level. His initial punch and drive can completely reset the offensive line and push the lineman backward. He plays with a solid base that once he gets the punch when he has good hand usage can lock a lineman in place. He has a surprising first step that can help him hit gaps quickly and disrupt the running lanes.

Clark has a ton of power and length but will get caught up on blockers and not shed well. This is because he isn’t consistent with hand usage so his initial punch will land, but there isn’t much afterward.

Due to his larger frame, there are some concerns about how much stamina he will have, and may be stuck as a two-down player. He does not offer much in the way of pass rush, but if he can get better at learning how to shed, he should get better as a pass rusher.

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Clark fills the need to clog the center of the defensive line. One of the reasons the Cowboys have lost two years in a row is an inability to stop the run as games wear on. Clark would be able to be part of a rotation on the line, but may only provide a lot of help against the run.

Clark could go as early as the third round, but with some concerns about stamina and having such a specialized role he could fall a little bit to be had in the middle rounds.