Monday, June 27, 2022

Trade scenario calls for Cowboys to acquire the Versatile Defender

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The Dallas Cowboys could be looking for the starting security of an AFC contender before training camp begins.

In a list compiled by Bleacher Report’s Ian Wharton, the Cowboys are asked to offer a fourth-round draft pick in exchange for the Baltimore Ravens’ Chuck Clark. While the Cowboys already have their starting safeties in — free safety Malik Hooker and strong safety Jayron Kearse — Dallas could use Clark as a boxing safety and for depth purposes. Dallas lost both Keanu Neal and Damontae Kazee in a free hand.

Wharton explains how the Cowboys could field Clark since the 27-year-old doesn’t have a clear role with the Ravens for the 2022 season.

“Clark and Kearse offer well-rounded skills that give defensive coordinator Dan Quinn more flexibility when moving each other,” says Wharton. “Both can cover tight ends in the slot, attack the line of scrimmage, and functionally play two-high shells. Hooker would rely more on playing the ball and making turnovers.

According to Pro Football Focus, the five-year veteran posted a 66.2 defensive grade last season, higher than Kazee’s (60.2 defensive grade) and Neal’s grades (35.9 defensive grade) last year.

The former sixth-round draft pick has played five seasons at Baltimore, starting with the last three. Clark has played both free and heavy safety roles with the Ravens, notching 96 tackles during the 2020 campaign, ranking second on the team. He also scored a respectable 80 tackles in the 2021 season, once again placing second at the club.

Despite Clark’s consistent and steady performance, he might find himself an odd man on Baltimore’s safety lineup. The Ravens signed a $70 million deal with free safety Marcus Williams, making him one of the highest-paid safeties in the league. Meanwhile, Baltimore also drafted safetyman Kyle Hamilton with a first-round pick.

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Defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald explained the Ravens’ plans to Clark earlier this month.

About CBS Sports’ Jeff Kerr:

“I think it’s still early to tell. We have so many great pieces and the way we try to teach the system is so conceptual,” said Macdonald. “So we really don’t ask them to play positions per se all the time. Boys are expected to learn what this play call entails.

“Right now it’s probably way too early to say where someone will be put in a particular situation. And it will change depending on the situation, depending on the game plan, frankly. Our goal as coaches is to find the 11 best players in each situation and get them out of there so they can play. I think that’s why we try to teach it the way we do it.”

Considering the Cowboys’ safety are 27-year-old Donovan Wilson — he played 69% of snaps in the 14 games he appeared in 2020 and 57% of snaps in nine appearances in 2020 — and inexperienced Israel Mukuamu , Dallas could significantly improve their defensive backfield by acquiring Clark.

With the Cowboys likely to battle the Philadelphia Eagles for dominance in NFC East — the Eagles acquired former Pro Bowl cornerback James Bradberry and star wide receiver AJ Brown during the offseason — Dallas could use a veteran upgrade like Clark.

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