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Hard-To-Miss Michael Clark Making Noise in Camp

Michael Clark probably won't need any help trying to grab something from the top shelf. He would, however, need all the help he can get in making the Packers' 53-man roster.

It would seem everything is against the 6'6" former basketball player out of Marshall. He's shown up in practice and made a variety of contested catches, all starting with leaving rookie cornerback Lenzy Pipkins in the dust during the first week of training camp.

He followed up the impressive catch with a freakshow of a leap over LaDarius Gunter to snag the ball right above his facemask when the practice was moved inside the Don Hutson Center last week.

It's almost as if Clark is doing all he can to pry himself from the clutches of being a darkhorse candidate in making the roster. Even the practice squad is still far-fetched this early, but a strong preseason showing or two and Clark may just be a lock for it.

With a combination of size, speed, vertical presence and the ability to box out defenders thanks to his basketball background, Clark possesses a skill set that the Packers may just have no problem hanging on to and giving a full season to develop under receivers coach Luke Getsy

It may just take paying Clark above the practice squad salary of $6,900 per week that a player is on the practice squad. A full regular season on the practice squad roster would mean Clark could take home $117,300 by the end of the year. That's if the Packers truly see potential upside and mismatch capability in Clark.

According to Behind The Steel Curtain, the Patriots frequently partake in hefty paychecks for their practice squad players. It wouldn't be something out of the cards for the Packers, and Clark wouldn't be the only potential suitor. Players such as linebacker Johnathan Calvin and offensive lineman Geoff Gray are also well in the running.

The interesting thing about Clark is that he last played football during his freshman year of high school. At one point, he was a forward for the Saint Francis Red Flash before dropping his scholarship to enter Marshall as a walk-on. Now, he's catching passes from Aaron Rodgers, who didn't shy away from acknowledging the vigorous road ahead of Clark.

Clark on the receiving end of a Thundering Herd touchdown in 2016. (Chuck Cook/USA TODAY Sports)

"He's taller than most of those guys and he jumps better than most of those guys," said Rodgers after Tuesday's practice; a practice in which Clark caught a touchdown pass from both Rodgers and Brett Hundley. "I think that's as simple as it is. I've enjoyed having him in here. I didn't know what to expect because he was out the entire spring with an injury. But, he's come back and made a couple plays.

"He needs to be more consistent, though. He's figured it out, though, he's a basketball player who's trying to figure out route running, spacing, timing and being sudden. But, he has those 'wow' moments in practice."

Clark is the proud owner of a 4.53 40-yard dash at his Pro Day which coupled with his 17 bench press repetitions. The measurables are there, as is the raw talent, but Green Bay would be just the place to develop it.

Many are looking forward to seeing what Clark can do, and they'll get a first look Thursday night when the Packers open up their stretch of exhibition games against the visiting Eagles. With Hundley leading the charge at quarterback and a good portion of the Packers' receivers sitting out, Clark may receive significant playing time.

Any potent amount of playing time would be a reward for the strides Clark, among others, has taken in practice. More excellence from the big-bodied Clark is why placing him on the practice squad and giving another team an opportunity to snatch him up is less than ideal.

Realistically, the Packers don't need Clark: They can win with him, they can win without him and whether or not he makes the 53-man roster on a depth chart loaded with receiving talent is the least of the team's concerns. But to say Clark's athleticism and catch radius wouldn't be an appealing spectacle to watch would be an outright lie.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (19) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Bearmeat's picture

Practice squad material. Let him learn for a couple years and see what we've got.

The real guy on the bubble is Janis.

dobber's picture

Clark might be a guy who needs to develop a mysterious hamstring injury at the end of camp for an IR stash...

LayingTheLawe's picture

Janis is still first squad on special teams and it will take these backups replacing him there to make his spot open. Your number 6 wide receiver is only valuable if he's a whiz on special teams and Janis is and these other guys ain't yet.

pooch's picture

Was a Janis fan but this being 4th year and very limited snaps time to move on

sonomaca's picture

I've seen situations where teems try to minimize preseason game film so that they can sneak players onto PS.

RCPackerFan's picture

Clark was one of my most intriguing players that I wanted to watch coming into training camp.

His size and basketball background is very rare in players. His ability to jump over guys and make plays on balls is what separates him from many players. The Packers have never really had a player like him before.

I understand that he is very raw since he has played 1 year of football since his freshman year of HS. He has a long ways to go as far as route running work and knowledge of the offense goes. It would honestly be best if he could spend the year on the PS learning the Packers scheme and learning how to run routes and whatnot.
That being said you simply can't deny his raw skills. 6'6 - 217 lbs. Runs a 4.53 40 and has a very respectable bench press.
Almost every day in practice he makes a wow play. Not a lot of players can say that. For him to at the very least make the PS and maybe even the 53, he has to continue to impress. He has been doing that.

While its a very long shot, I have to admit if Clark were to make the 53, and then somehow getting on the 46, the lineup of Clark, Nelson, Adams, Cobb and Bennett would be a hell of a nice redzone group.
Clarks size simply is a hard matchup to cover. Add in Bennett who is also 6'6. Nelson and Adams who have become Redzone nightmares for defenses and Cobb is a dangerous redzone guy as well.

Again a very long shot of actually happening. But I'm going to enjoy watching him throughout the preseason. And that is where he can lock up a job.

dobber's picture

Really long shot. He's auditioning for a spot on the PS...or SOMEONE'S PS anyway.

RCPackerFan's picture

Yup. It is a long shot.
But that's why they play the preseason games.

I remember back in the day, lol (now I'm starting to feel old), Desmond Howard basically earned his roster spot in the 4th preseason game.

Tonight is the first preseason game. I'm just saying lets see what happens.

Razer's picture

I hope that he keeps developing as a Packer. The truer measure will be when he plays in the ex games and the hitting is full-out.

stockholder's picture

Waste of time. Big guys only get slower. It took Adams 3 years to show -up, and he was a second round pick. Move on and keep McCaffery. Speed and separation. No not even at TE.

mnklitzke's picture

It was Jordy's 4th year he made a big impact. So what will it hurt to develop a kid with lots of up side? Do I think he makes the 53? Nope but give him extra money to stay with GB. Nelson isn't getting any younger.

sonomaca's picture

I'd be very careful about letting future talent get away. Nelson, Adams, and Cobb may all nearing the end of time in GB. Anyone who might be a future #1 through #3 must be kept in fold.

JDK52's picture

He's made some highlight-reel catches for sure. The question I (and probably many others as well) have, is can he develop better than Janis has? The physical gifts are impossible to ignore, and it'd be great to see him become a reliable target.

RCPackerFan's picture

He has such a unique skill set. I think the question that I have is does he have to necessarily be developed the same way that other WR's have to be?

A normal 6'-6'2 type of WR doesn't have the skills that Clark has. They have to become better at route running and other things because their size forces them to. Clark's size allows him to do other things that those guys can't. Simply out jump everyone else.

Now I know he has a lot to learn to become a better WR, and the practice squad would be a great place to learn and develop. But if he continues to impress its going to be tough to not keep him on the 53.

JDK52's picture

I think I get what you're saying. You're probably not far off, and for him it may be more about just really focusing on consistency than pure route-running perfection.

If Rodgers can trust him to be at the right spots, then maybe he only needs a dozen routes (this is a BS number that I don't mean literally), and really executing those well. Because a guy with those attributes doesn't need to juke a DB out of his cleats-he just turns on the jets, then jumps to snag a pass the other guy wouldn't reach with a trampoline.

RCPackerFan's picture

Yeah, basically what I was trying to say is with his unique skill set, he can do things that others can't do. I'm not sure if he is being graded on the same curve as others just because he is so unique.

yeah definitely. I think the consistency is what he needs to show. That he can constantly run good routes, and be where he is supposed to be.

I hope in the end the Packers will be able to keep him whether its on the 53 or the PS. Just his abilities are so rare that its hard to not want to see how much he could be developed.
I mean when you hear him being compared to Randy Moss on a play he had, that says a lot. People don't make those types of comparisons all the time.
For the record that was on a play that he made leaping over Gunter to catch a TD pass.

Handsback's picture

This guy is the perfect example of who you put on the PS. He needs to know how to play the position and another year of basics will float him to a starter position. If he stays healthy that is....

The TKstinator's picture

Making noise in camp? I hope he's not singing "Africa" by Toto after lights out. He might not get any sloppy joes.

Since '61's picture

Clark sounds like a guy, if we can keep and develop him, who would be prefect to utilize for a Rodgers Hail Mary pass. With his height and ability to box out defenders he would be the prefect target for the Hail Mary. Also, as others have previously mentioned he could be developed into a great red zone threat. If he plays well during the preseason games I see no reason not to keep him and pay him on the PS. What is there to lose? At 6'6" there may also be a role for him in blocking FGs and PATs, who knows? The Packers have kept guys for years with less potential upside than this kid has. Let's see what happens starting this evening. Thanks, Since '61

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