Seahawks 2016 breakout player: Frank Clark

Seattle Seahawks’ defensive end Frank Clark is coming off a good but unspectacular rookie season. With a new role and a new focus, he’s ready for a breakout season in 2016.

Frank Clark is ready to have a breakout season in 2016. Not only has he dropped weight and added strength, he’s also getting ready to play an entirely different role in Seattle’s defense.

As ESPN’s Sheil Kapadia points out, Clark is getting all the first-team snaps at right defensive end whenever the Seahawks are in the nickel. These are the pass-rushing opportunities that Bruce Irvin received last season.

Last season, the Seahawks used Clark all over the line as a backup. He received many of his snaps as the pass-rushing nose tackle when Jordan Hill was injured. That’s a role that Clark isn’t built to excel in.

Clark is a strong-side edge rusher. He can do well as a three-tech rusher as well, but he doesn’t have the functional strength that Michael Bennett uses to dominate there in quite the same way.

Basically, Clark was being used last year in a way the team needed, but not in the way where he was going to have the most success. That is going to change in 2016.

His role is only part of the reason I think Clark is going to have a breakout season. He also spent the early parts of the offseason changing his body in a positive way. He’s lost  approximately 12 pounds in an effort to become even more explosive.

Pete Carroll said that the team noticed all the work Clark put in:

Here’s a guy that came back to us with a little bit different makeup. Stronger, he looks faster than ever, Lost a few pounds. Came in a little bit leaner than when he had come in a year ago. He feels great.

Clark was already an incredible athlete. Per Zach Whitman of 3 sigma athlete, Clark is a better athlete than 95 percent of all NFL edge rushers. That was before this offseason makeover. If Clark is even faster and stronger now, there will be no stopping him.

Put those two factors together, and it becomes obvious that Clark is likely to see a major jump in his production. With Irvin gone, that is exactly what Seattle’s defense needs.

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