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Cameron Clark's Traits Should Help Him Earn a Spot on Jets' O-Line

GM Joe Douglas on Green & White's 4th-Round Tackle: Toughness, Attitude and Mentality

Charlotte offensive lineman Cameron Clark runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Friday, Feb. 28, 2020. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Fans might've thought the Jets were done with revamping their tackle position when they added UFA George Fant to second-year man Chuma Edoga, then stepped to the plate with their 11th overall pick to take the man-mountain Mekhi Becton out of Louisville.

But day two arrived and the Green & White weren't done with tackle shopping when they chose Cameron Clark out of Charlotte with their last fourth-round pick, 129th overall.

GM Joe Douglas gave a little insight into why the Jets went with Clark when he talked with the 6'4", 308-pounder with those 11-inch mitts of his right after the draft pick:

"Cameron, we think your toughness, your attitude, your mentality is going to be a real asset here."

Clark's reaction wearing the green and white? "Yes sir, I'm extremely excited."

Here is just a little supporting evidence for those three qualities that Douglas mentioned to the first Jet ever selected from Charlotte:

Toughness: Hanging with the Big Dogs
One measure of that trait is availability, and Clark was always there for the 49ers in his four playing seasons from 2016-19. He holds the school record with 49 games played, with the last 31 coming in consecutive starts at LT to end his college career.

One of those starts was last year's game at Clemson. The Tigers rolled, 52-10, but Clark received high marks for "hanging with the big dogs," in the words of draft analyst Matt Miller.

"I knew what was at stake," Clark said of that game. "I approached Clemson the way I try to approach all my games, play to the best of my ability. I definitely felt the atmosphere of the game, which added a little something to it. I just tried to go out there and be myself and not make it that big of a deal."

Mentality: Leadership Qualities
In short, Clark's mindset is to be a leader. He received that rare O-lineman's honor of being named the school's Offensive MVP in 2017. To be sure, that honor is bestowed on teams that often struggle offensively, and that year the 49ers finished 1-11 and averaged 14 points a game. But Clark's leadership continued through his final two seasons, when he was named team captain.

Leadership comes in part from being a people person, and it didn't take long for Clark to make friends with a fellow tackle candidate and future Jets teammate and competitor in Becton.

"Me and Mekhi, we trained together at MJP in Dallas," he said. "We got real close in the Combine process, even at the Combine, post-Combine. We talk all the time. I was definitely excited about joining him up there. Mekhi's a heck of a player, he's nasty, he loves finishing blocks. I feel like both of us have that in our game. I'm excited to see what we can do."

Attitude: Bringing That Nasty
That last quote alludes to another of Clark's traits, which was captured in another brief draft-night phone exchange, this one between Clark and Jets OL coach Frank Pollack.

Pollack: You fired up, man?
Clark: Yes sir, I'm extremely excited.
Pollack: I love that finish and that nasty on tape.
Clark: Yes sir. I'm bringing that with me.

A leader with toughness. Respectful yet nasty. Good combinations for Clark as he begins the process of carving out a niche for himself on the Jets' refashioned offensive line.

See the Best Images of the Tackle from Charlotte