Draft Profiles: Danielle Hunter & Frank Clark

Eight of the Cowboys draft picks over the last two years were brought in for official visits. We take a look at two players who live on the edge... on the field.

While there is always going to be mystery when it comes to the NFL Draft, over the years the Dallas Cowboys have done their fans a bit of a favor and tipped their hands so to speak. Not only have they (not once, but twice) given us a look at their draft boards after that year’s draft was completed, but in their actions they’ve also alerted us to some key tells about their actions. In our must-read post from earlier in the off-season,"6 Draft Tendencies and Tells” we listed the following:

    5. Dallas uses their Valley Ranch visits very wisely, and will most often select players throughout the draft that visit team headquarters through the 30 National invites of Dallas Day visits.

This is by no means an end-all be-all list. Morris Claiborne wasn’t invited to the Ranch, and Dallas spend two picks to acquire him. Maybe the lack of development their helped guide their hand recently, as eight of their picks over the last two years were in for official visits. In that vein, we’ll be bringing you in-depth looks at the draft candidates that Dallas schedules for visits, so that you can be better informed about the small sample size many of the next group of Cowboys will likely come from.

DE Frank Clark


While there is always going to be mystery when it comes to the NFL Draft, over the years the Dallas Cowboys have done their fans a bit of a favor and tipped their hands so to speak. Not only have they (not once, but twice) given us a look at their draft boards after that year’s draft was completed, but in their actions they’ve also alerted us to some key tells about their actions. In our must-read post from earlier in the off-season “6 Draft Tendencies and Tells” we listed the following:

    5. Dallas uses their Valley Ranch visits very wisely, and will most often select players throughout the draft that visit team headquarters through the 30 National invites of Dallas Day visits.

This is by no means an end-all be-all list. Morris Claiborne wasn’t invited to the Ranch, and Dallas spend two picks to acquire him. Maybe the lack of development their helped guide their hand recently, as eight of their picks over the last two years were in for official visits. In that vein, we’ll be bringing you in-depth looks at the draft candidates that Dallas schedules for visits, so that you can be better informed about the small sample size many of the next group of Cowboys will likely come from.

Name: Frank Clark
Position: Defensive End
School: University of Michigan
Height: 6’3”
Weight: 271 LBs
Intangibles/Honors:
Played in 10 games prior to being dismissed from the team following domestic violence charges being filed against him (charges were later dropped) - 2014
Arrested in 2012 for felony second-degree home invasion, and received 1 year of probation, and his record was wiped clean following completion of that sentence under the terms of the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act.
Second Team All-Big 10 - 2013
Richard Katcher Award (UM’s top Defensive Lineman) - 2013
General Studies Major
pSparq Score: 141.6 Z-Score: 1.7 NFL Percentile: 95.6

pSparq is an approximation of the “Sparq Score” metric invented by NIKE (with the help of former USC and current Seattle Seahawks Head Coach, Pete Carroll), designed as a way to standardize athletic testing of High School athletes and interpret their athleticism with a sport specific formula. By standardizing a single metric composed of multiple athletic test results, it becomes possible to compare players to the athletic testing scores of players in past draft classes, and to provide context as to how a player will compare athletically to his peers at the NFL level. The Z-Score represents the number of standard deviations (sigma) above or below the mean at a particular position that player falls, 84% of players will have a Z-score of less than 1, 98% will have a Z-score of less than 2, and 99.87% will fall below a Z-Score of 3. There are currently a total of four players who are “3 Sigma Athletes” in the NFL, JJ Watt, Calvin Johnson, Evan Mathis, and Lane Johnson, along with one from the 2015 draft class, Byron Jones. For more on pSparq,(and the man behind the math Zach Whitman) check out 3sigmaathlete.com

Measurables vs others at his position:

Note: This spider graph provides a visual representation of a players’ measurable traits, and combine results. The filled in area of the chart, as well as the number in the light grey circle represents the percentile among the players peers by position. A score of 85 here represents that out of every 100 players at his position, the player has a better result in that test than 85 of those 100.

Force Player?: Yes

Note: Force Players and its predecessor Math Rushers, is a filter developed by Justis Mosqueda of Draftbreakdown.com which uses combine (or proday) athletic testing results in an attempt to predictively indicate the Edge rushers who have the necessary traits to be difference making players for a defense. For more information on Force Players, how they’re classified, and the correlation to success for edge rushers, along with the full list of 2015 forceplayers, as well as a comparison of force players to non-force players for the last decade, read Justis’ breakdown on Rotoworld and listen to the Justis’ appearance on Josh Norris’ Process the Process Podcast

Games Studied: Northwestern, Minnesota, Indiana

Pass Rush:

Frank Clark played both Right and Left Defensive End for the Wolverines defense, and showed production and promise as a rusher at both spots. His best rush, is the bull rush, where he uses his length to keep blockers at bay, pushes his man back into the pocket to the level of the QB, when he disengages, and cuts inside of the blocker to the QB. He also has the explosive athleticism and change of direction to win on the outside, turn the corner and attack the passer in that way. He also uses and inside and outside arm-over move, and has the agility to avoid cut blocks by RBs who wind up with the unenviable task of attempting to block Clark. He has a good first step, and has the ability to turn speed into power, and knock OT’s off-balance by getting into their chests.

Run Game:

Clark is also a stout run defender who regularly “resets” the line of scrimmage in the opponents backfield with his quick get-off and punch into blockers. He routinely sets the edge, or forces the RB to reroute himself, spilling the play outside. His ability to use length and disengage from blockers carries over to the run game, as he is involved in plenty of stops at or near the line of scrimmage as guys attempt to run by. He has a very hot running motor in pursuit, and will chase runners down the line of scrimmage from the backside on zone plays, or 30+ yards down field if they do find a crease.

Conclusion/Cowboys Projection:

The decision to draft Frank Clark should not, and will not be made lightly. Whoever selects him must be very comfortable with his story in regards to the incident involving his girlfriend last November as well as who he is as a person in general, and should have done heavy due diligence in both areas. If he was a completely clean player off the field, I’d see him as one of the top 50 players in this draft based purely on talent and on-field production. However, taking into account the off-field, I would, and we’ve reported the Cowboys would consider him an option in the third round with the 91st overall pick. After spending a year as a productive rotational piece on Rod Marinelli, and Leon Lett’s defensive front, Clark would likely step into a starting role in 2016, pairing with DeMarcus Lawrence to give the Cowboys a promising young pair of rushers as cornerstones for the front seven.

DE Danielle Hunter


While there is always going to be mystery when it comes to the NFL Draft, over the years the Dallas Cowboys have done their fans a bit of a favor and tipped their hands so to speak. Not only have they (not once, but twice) given us a look at their draft boards after that year’s draft was completed, but in their actions they’ve also alerted us to some key tells about their actions. In our must-read post from earlier in the off-season “6 Draft Tendencies and Tells” we listed the following:

    5. Dallas uses their Valley Ranch visits very wisely, and will most often select players throughout the draft that visit team headquarters through the 30 National invites of Dallas Day visits.

This is by no means an end-all be-all list. Morris Claiborne wasn’t invited to the Ranch, and Dallas spend two picks to acquire him. Maybe the lack of development their helped guide their hand recently, as eight of their picks over the last two years were in for official visits. In that vein, we’ll be bringing you in-depth looks at the draft candidates that Dallas schedules for visits, so that you can be better informed about the small sample size many of the next group of Cowboys will likely come from.

Name: Danielle Hunter
Position: Defensive End
School: Louisiana State University
Height: 6’5”
Weight: 252 LBs
Intangibles/Honors:
Started 23 straight games – 2013 & 2014
Sports Administration Major
Played Defensive End and Wide Receiver in High School outside of Houston.
pSparq Score: 140.4 Z-Score: 1.6 NFL Percentile: 94.0

pSparq is an approximation of the “Sparq Score” metric invented by NIKE (with the help of former USC and current Seattle Seahawks Head Coach, Pete Carroll), designed as a way to standardize athletic testing of High School athletes and interpret their athleticism with a sport specific formula. By standardizing a single metric composed of multiple athletic test results, it becomes possible to compare players to the athletic testing scores of players in past draft classes, and to provide context as to how a player will compare athletically to his peers at the NFL level. The Z-Score represents the number of standard deviations (sigma) above or below the mean at a particular position that player falls, 84% of players will have a Z-score of less than 1, 98% will have a Z-score of less than 2, and 99.87% will fall below a Z-Score of 3. There are currently a total of four players who are “3 Sigma Athletes” in the NFL, JJ Watt, Calvin Johnson, Evan Mathis, and Lane Johnson, along with one from the 2015 draft class, Byron Jones. For more on pSparq,(and the man behind the math Zach Whitman) check out 3sigmaathlete.com

Measurables vs others at his position:

Note: This spider graph provides a visual representation of a players’ measurable traits, and combine results. The filled in area of the chart, as well as the number in the light grey circle represents the percentile among the players peers by position. A score of 85 here represents that out of every 100 players at his position, the player has a better result in that test than 85 of those 100.

Force Player?: Yes

Note: Force Players and its predecessor Math Rushers, is a filter developed by Justis Mosqueda of Draftbreakdown.com which uses combine (or proday) athletic testing results in an attempt to predictively indicate the Edge rushers who have the necessary traits to be difference making players for a defense. For more information on Force Players, how they’re classified, and the correlation to success for edge rushers, along with the full list of 2015 forceplayers, as well as a comparison of force players to non-force players for the last decade, read Justis’ breakdown on Rotoworld and listen to the Justis’ appearance on Josh Norris’ Process the Process Podcast

Games Studied: Ole Miss, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi State,

Pass Rush:

Danielle (pronounced Duh-Neal) Hunter, played exclusively the Right DE spot in the LSU defense. The LSU scheme is a very interesting one in terms of what they ask their DEs to do when it comes to rushing the passer. Much of the scheme is built around creating opportunities for a 5th rusher (either LB or DB) coming off the edge or from the slot. This results in the DEs scooping inside rather often, usually being tasked simply with holding up at the point of attack, and keeping the QB in the pocket. This makes Hunter a more difficult evaluation from a Pass Rushing standpoint. There are glimpses where you see his VERY high level of athleticism show up and result in a big play. Most often however, when his extreme natural abilities put his opponent in a poor, or disadvantageous position, it looks like Hunter just has no idea what to do to in order to finish the play. He shows all of the measurable traits to be able to turn speed into power on the rush, and occasionally you see him do it on tape, and when he really uses his length and explosiveness to get into a blocker on the rush, you can see him have success, although, even when he is able to squeeze the pocket by walking an OT back into the QB, he doesn’t always do a good job of disengaging and making the play. More often than not it seems like he gets 2 to 3 steps up field, and doesn’t have a plan of what to do next. Which, combined with a tendency to raise his pad level too high and open his chest up to blockers, is the primary thing that keeps him from being as successful as he could be in this part of his game. He does a good job of getting his hands up to close passing lanes, and gets his hands on a lot of passes in this way.

Run Game:

For as unsophisticated as Hunter is a pass rusher, his proficiency in defending the run is top notch among college DEs. On tape it looks like he was asked to 2-gap, read, and react against the run, and this is where we see the functional strength that makes you think he could succeed in other areas. His length helps him hold off blockers, while his lower body strength shows up in helping him hold up at the point of attack. The one opportunity for improvement against the run is one that also shows up in the pass rush, he is inconsistent in terms of disengaging from blockers to make a play on the ball carrier.

Conclusion/Cowboys Projection:

Danielle Hunter is a very intriguing prospect, if for no reason other than his premier athletic ability. However, his lack-of college production, should give evaluators pause. If he had top flight college production, his skillset would put him at the very top of the class of rushers. He projects as a right Defensive End in the Cowboys system, who would upgrade the athleticism at that spot immediately and would fit in the rotation nicely. A team like Dallas, with a scheme that simplifies the role of it’s defensive ends, a defensive coaching staff that emphasizes the development of rushers, and a guru of a rush teacher in Rod Marinelli, who teaches nitty gritty technique, and emphasizes having a plan before the snap, is the exact environment in which Hunter is likely to reach his full potential. The ideal scenario involving Hunter on draft weekend involves taking him at the 60th pick after selecting a CB or RB in the first round. However, it is very likely that a team somewhere in the early to mid-second round will decide that his skillset is worth the cost and select him before Dallas gets it’s 2nd turn to choose.



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Onside Kicks

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