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Bengals DE Will Clarke gained 20 pounds since last year

Cincinnati selected Clarke in the third round of the 2015 NFL draft. He quickly learned that he needed more strength and spent the last year bulking up.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

It's been nearly a year since the Bengals drafted defensive end Will Clarke, who has gained 20 pounds, writes

"I knew I had to improve my strength if I want to be a dominant player in the league," Clarke said. Clarke, a Pittsburgh native, chose to spend the offseason in Cincinnati and (workout) with trainer Jim Riggs.

The Bengals drafted Clarke, largely in response to losing Michael Johnson to free agency last year, when he signed a five-year deal worth $43.75 million with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Unfortunately Clarke struggled breaking into the lineup by playing only 64 snaps on defense in seven games -- he recorded two quarterback pressures and three tackles during the regular season and notched a quarterback sack in the preseason. Clarke also recovered a fumble in the fourth quarter against New Orleans.

He'll have some competition again this year. Despite the team releasing Robert Geathers, they've re-signed Michael Johnson who eats snaps, while Carlos Dunlap, Wallace Gilberry and Margus Hunt will keep their relative placement above Clark on the team's depth chart.