Outside of Micah Parsons, the linebacker position is very thin for the Cowboys. Leighton Vander Esch has underperformed, we don’t know what Jabril Cox could be and Luke Gifford hasn’t escaped special teams yet.
In the middle rounds of the 2022 NFL Draft, LSU’s Damone Clark is an option at linebacker. Last season, Clark was a First-team All-SEC selection and received Second-team All-America honors from Sporting News, recording 135 tackles and 5.5 sacks. He wore the No. 18 jersey as a Tiger, a number given to a player who exhibits high amounts of character.
What stands out most about Clark is his speed. He’s a sideline to sideline linebacker with an ability to make a play anywhere on the field. Clark is great at pursuing ball carriers and uses his athleticism and quickness to stop the run, plugging gaps and disrupting plays. His mobility and footwork also allow him to spy quarterbacks well.
Damone Clark YOU are a Baltimore Raven pic.twitter.com/C2XVALeCli
Beyond his physical traits, Clark has great mental awareness as well. His ability to recognize plays is top-notch, allowing Clark to move around the field easier because he knows where the ball is going. He reads plays and route concepts quickly when defending the pass and stops them effectively. There’s room for improvement in that area, but Clark does well covering the middle of the field.
Dallas could need someone like Clark. Parsons is an exceptional player with few weaknesses. But if he has one, it’s his run defense. Clark is an efficient run defender with his range and tackling ability. His athleticism matches his high intelligence, making Clark a great all-around defender.
The risk in taking him is his health. Clark will miss the 2022 season due to a spinal fusion surgery to correct a herniated disk. His injury is the only reason he won’t be a second-round pick. But, he’ll make a full recovery by the 2023 season. By that time, Vander Esch may be gone, giving Clark an ample opportunity to make an impact.
When that time comes, he’ll be ready, and he’ll be beneficial for the Cowboys.