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FootballOutsiders: Frank Clark has the potential to be great

Indianapolis Colts v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Once again, FootballOutsiders has lended itself to SB Nation, answering five questions from each blog about their team. These questions and answers should slant towards the advanced analytics that FO focuses on, specifically in regards to DVOA. To find out more about the great work at FootballOutsiders, you should definitely be keen on their annual almanac, which is available now in the FO Store.

On Monday, we talked about Thomas Rawls, Eddie Lacy, and the 2017 RB problem

On Tuesday, it was all about Brian Schottenheimer

On Wednesday: What is the future of OL evaluation?

On Thursday, we talked about the narrative of Russell Wilson and Doug Baldwin

Today, it’s a question of the progression of Frank Clark, arguably the most important piece of the Seahawks defense in terms of looking to the future.

Q: Defensively, the Seahawks have lost a lot this offseason and that means that Frank Clark has become perhaps the key player to watch in 2018. We know that Bobby Wagner is special. We know K.J. Wright is great at what he does. We don’t know a lot about the other guys and suddenly Clark is one of the most veteran players on the defense and going into a contract year. Given his three-year progression from 2015-2017, what trends are you seeing? What potential do you see in him with an increase in snaps and as the number one guy to stop at the line of scrimmage if you’re an offensive coordinator/lineman?

Bryan Knowles: Clark’s already passed the first test. When specialist pass rushers get a bigger and bigger workload, they can often become exposed – sometimes because defenses get too much film on them and can start countering their best moves, other times because they’re asked to play more run defense and other things that don’t match their skillset. Clark’s seen his defensive snap count rise from 323 to 682 to 740 snaps over the past three seasons, and he hasn’t really missed a beat. His stop percentage in both pass defense and run defense has remained roughly constant; he hasn’t been overexposed yet. His short-area quickness projects well to being the top edge rusher, but he’ll need to take another step forward if he wants to keep his pressure rate and stop percentage up against the best tackles in the league. He definitely has the potential to be a top edge rusher, and he’s made steps forward every season so far. Even though he’s an unknown quantity, I expect that he’ll at least have a solid season.