Analyst Agrees Chiefs Are ‘Too Dependent’ on Pro Bowler’s Bounceback

Frank Clark

Getty Kansas City Chiefs' Pro Bowl alternate Frank Clark on February 6, 2022.

Frank Clark has become one of the more polarizing Kansas City Chiefs players since the franchise traded for him in 2019.

There was much speculation on whether the Pro Bowl defensive end would end up becoming a cap casualty in 2022 but in the end, general manager Brett Veach was able to work out a contract restructure that keeps Clark in Kansas City for two more seasons.

The new deal managed to shed about $12.6 million in cap space according to Over the Cap, but it also put a lot of faith in Clark as a contributor. Pass rush is always crucial in the NFL and Veach practically doubled down on a man who is coming off his second-lowest career sack total (4.5 sacks).

With first-round selection George Karlaftis as the main edge rusher addition of the offseason, that means Clark will play a major role once again and some are beginning to question that decision.

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Chiefs’ Number One Concern?

In response to a weekly fan poll from Arrowhead Pride, radio host Carrington Harrison replied that “the Chiefs are too dependent on Frank Clark bouncing back this season.”

The comment was one of the more popular “unpopular Chiefs takes” and it earned a mention in Mark Gunnels’ latest segment of “Let’s Argue” on Arrowhead Pride.

“Heading into this season, this is the main concern I have for the Chiefs — and to be quite frank about it, I don’t think it should be an unpopular opinion,” wrote Gunnels. “As the roster is currently constructed, Clark will be heavily relied upon to get consistent quarterback pressure from the edge. And that is a problem. In 14 games last season, Clark only totaled 4.5 sacks.”

The Chiefs analyst added that with veteran Melvin Ingram officially “out of the picture,” it puts more pressure on Clark and Karlaftis to have an impact. Of course, one of those two is a rookie, so you could make the case that there is even more resting on the veteran’s shoulders.

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Stats Don’t Lie

Somehow, Clark managed to make the Pro Bowl in 2021 as an alternate. It was the defensive end’s third straight selection to the NFL’s all-star outing but it was in no way deserved.

Although Pro Football Focus did credit Clark with the second-most quarterback pressures on the roster (53), his pressures per pass-rushing snap were much less impressive at 5.9 PRP. This yielded a pass-rush win percentage of 12.2%.

By comparison, Chris Jones’ win rate was 19.1% in 2021 but a backup like Mike Danna only produced a 10.4% success rate. Ingram topped Clark at 13.7%.

Long story short, Clark’s major influence as a pass rusher last season was average considering his snap count and pay scale. When he did force pressures, he rarely got home on the quarterback with the aforementioned low sack total and 12 QB hits.

Clark has never been known for his ability as a run defender, but PFF also graded him at a career-low in that regard (43.7 out of 100). That mark included a below-average STOP percentage of 4.7% and a rough missed tackle rate of 25.0% — which was tied for second-worst on the Chiefs among defenders that appeared in more than one game.

Plain and simple, it was the former second-round pick’s worst campaign since his rookie year both statistically and analytically speaking. Now, Veach and company will rely on the soon-to-be 29-year-old to turn things around, and that could end up being a very risky bet.


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