Once upon a time the Seattle Seahawks drafted Bruce Irvin as a defensive end before eventually moving him to linebacker after hi rookie season. It appears as though the same plan is in the works this year for Frank Clark.
As noted by Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times, Clark is now listed as a linebacker on the team’s official roster. He’s also down 15 pounds (from 272 last year to 257) in preparation for the shift in roles.
Clark was praised frequently throughout his rookie season by head coach Pete Carroll. But with Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril ahead of him on the depth chart and playing well, Clark was primarily used only as a rotational pass rusher in his rookie season. Following Irvin’s departure, Clark’s move to linebacker should get him on the field more regularly.
Irvin was moved to strong-side linebackers after posting eight sacks as a rookie in 2012. In passing situations, Irvin would become a pass rusher alongside Bennett and Avril. Clark can certainly replace Irvin’s snaps in passing situations. The question will be how well he adapts to playing in space as a linebacker.
The Seahawks undoubtedly view Clark as one of their 11 best defenders on the team. The move to fill Irvin’s role gives them the opportunity to get their best players on the field together at the same time.
Clark appeared in 15 games for Seattle last season and recorded three sacks, 16 tackles and a forced fumble.