Fourth-round pick Cameron Clark started all 35 games at left tackle for Charlotte, but the Jets' coaching staff has instructed him to learn both tackle and guard spots.
"My determination," said Clark when asked why he's confident he'll be able to learn three new positions (LG, RG and RT). "I feel like that's my attitude with anything. I can succeed with anything I put my mind to. That's just my attitude. I'm not scared to get things wrong, so it'll be trial and error and all those type things as far as practice, but I'm going to learn from my mistakes and I'm going to get better from it. I'm excited to take that task on.
The 6'4", 308-pounder solely lined up at LT on gameday, but he practiced at guard throughout his collegiate career.
"Most of my stuff in college was out of a two-point stance and a three-point stance here and there," Clark said. "[I'm working on] just being comfortable at guard with the double teams, getting used to the linebacker levels. There are different linebacker alignments. Offensive line is offensive line and the majority of the offensive line coaches I had believed in cross-training and being able to play more than one position. I've practiced these things, I just haven't done them in a [game] scenario. That'll be the new thing. I just have to be able to bring what I brought in college."
General manager Joe Douglas said Clark brings a nastiness to the offensive line and added, "Big Cam brings mentality, toughness and leadership. When we talk about grit, about guys that finish every play, that's Big Cam. One of our scouts said he was an All-American at center, so you're talking about versatility, flexibility and we feel like he's the kind of guy that can give us the flexibility moving forward, and the right type of person and competitor."
Clark was a fixture for the 49ers — he made 25 starts the past two seasons, was a two-time team captain and the offensive team MVP in his sophomore year in 2017 after starting eight games — but is accustomed to change. He had six O-line coaches in his five years, which resulted in a lot of learning on his own.
"Sometimes you'd have a line coach and you wouldn't even know who your line coach would be, so I was just trying to focus on being ready whenever we did find out who our line coach was," he said. "I'm a big film guy, too. Those are things that helped me throughout my college career that I'll take with me to this level. Just being able to learn on my own is something major that I learned in college. That took a lot of trial and error, too , as a young guy."
Despite Clark's playing in Conference USA, Jets senior football advisor Phil Savage, who was the GM of the Arizona Hotshots in the Alliance of American Football, said one of Clark's former coaches was on their staff and thought the world of Clark in terms of his potential in the NFL.
"There will obviously be an adjustment in terms of the height, weight and speed of some of the guys he'll be going against," Savage said. "But he played against Clemson in his career, he played against Tennessee, so there were glimpses of him going up against higher-level competition and he was clearly a player that belonged at another level in terms of his college career."