Cincinnati Bengals defensive back Will Clarke is slowly entering the picture.
The former third-rounder out of West Virginia -- a hulking 270-pound athletic freak with a similar frame-set to another former Bengals third-rounder -- played his fourth consecutive game Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers. He contributed with eight defensive snaps on Sunday, accumulating 36 over the last four games. Against the New Orleans Saints and Houston Texans, he recorded a run stop in each game -- which constitutes as an offensive failure for the opposing offense -- and recovered a fumble in New Orleans.
It's not much, but you have to consider that Clarke, who has been buried behind names like Carlos Dunlap, Robert Geathers, Wallace Gilberry and Margus Hunt on the depth chart, wasn't going to contribute much this season regardless -- knowing that Margus Hunt wasn't going to be much of an impact, maybe they should have opened that door, huh?
Regardless, it doesn't mean that the Bengals aren't encouraging Clark to develop further. First step, weight. Per the Cincinnati Enquirer, the "Bengals plan on having him up his weight to 290 pounds for next season."
Clarke displayed several measurables during the predraft process, similar to that of Michael Johnson -- at least in terms of body size and speed. "He's got some twitch to him," said NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock the day Cincinnati selected him. "The 4-3 teams are looking for the long defensive ends with some twitch. That Bengals front is going to be excellent again."