After the Kansas City Chiefs placed LB Emmanuel Smith on the practice squad injured list last week, the AFC West champions had one open spot to fill — which the team did on Wednesday.
According to the NFL’s official transaction report for December 30, the Chiefs are signing DT Tyler Clark to the practice squad.
The #Chiefs have signed DT Tyler Clark to their practice squad. Clark was UDFA out of Georgia this year. He spent time with the Bengals and Bears.
— Nick Jacobs (@Jacobs71) December 30, 2020
Tyler Clark was unknown but pretty dang good at UGA. Flashes of brilliance and steady play as a DT that system got him some attention.
Had a monster game vs OU in 2018, good future signing https://t.co/9cP2xrlgXR
— Matt Lane (@ChiefinCarolina) December 30, 2020
The rookie defensive tackle went undrafted out of the University of Georgia, originally joining the Cinncinati Bengals on April 28 before being waived on August 11 in favor of veteran free agent DT Mike Daniels. Clark is also fresh off of a short stint with the Chicago Bears earlier this month.
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Clark Brings Extensive College Starting Experience
Following April’s NFL Draft, Sports Illustrated’s Dawgs Daily described Clark as a prospect with a unique blend of experience and ability on the field.
Clark was a part of the 2016 recruiting class, which was also Kirby Smart’s first season at Georgia. Smart was looking for production from anyone in year one in Athens, and Clark gave it to him from the jump. The former 4-star played in all 13 games as a true freshman at Georgia.
In his 4 years at Georgia, Clark produced 119 total tackles and 6.5 sacks. While his numbers certainly don’t blow the roof off, his level of experience is hard to come by. It’s not everyday you have the opportunity to pick up a prospect who has played from day one in their college career.
Tyler Clark offers a prototypical NFL-body for the DT position at 6’4 300 lbs. Clark’s ability to pressure the quarterback is also valuable, which will make a quality depth piece in the NFL.
Here is a small sample size of Clark’s game during last year’s primetime matchup between #3 Georgia and #7 Notre Dame.
Clark now becomes the second defensive lineman on the Chiefs practice squad, in addition to DE Demone Harris. Kansas City lists the 22-year-old as No. 93 on its official website roster.
Chiefs Designate LB for Return, Make Decision on Mahomes
In a separate transaction on Wednesday, Kansas City designated LB Dorian O’Daniel to return from injured reserve. The third-year linebacker and special teamer also returned to the practice field for the first time since suffering a sprained ankle in the team’s Week 12 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The 2018 third-rounder recorded nine total tackles, 1.0 sack, one quarterback hit and 219 special teams snaps through the first 11 games of the 2020 campaign.
A handful of Chiefs starters also missed the first practice of Week 17 on Wednesday, including RB Le’Veon Bell, WR Tyreek Hill and RT Mike Remmers.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire (left ankle), Le'Veon Bell (right knee), Mike Remmers (back), Sammy Watkins (calf) and Tyreek Hill (right hamstring) didn't practice, per the Chiefs.
Dorian O'Daniel, who missed the past four games with a high ankle sprain, did return to practice.
— Nate Taylor (@ByNateTaylor) December 30, 2020
During his press conference, head coach Andy Reid also confirmed that MVP candidate Patrick Mahomes will not be starting on Sunday versus the Los Angeles Chargers. Rather, veteran backup Chad Henne will be under center with the 14-1 Chiefs not having anything significant to play for in their season finale.
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Chris Licata is an NFL contributor covering the Kansas City Chiefs from enemy territory in Denver, Colorado. Follow him on Twitter @Chris__Licata or join the Heavy on Chiefs Facebook community for the latest out of Chiefs Kingdom!