We did some research on Ryan Clady and he's not necessarily a wild and crazy guy, but there are some interesting things about his career on and off the field from his time at Eisenhower High in Rialto, CA, through Boise State and on to the Denver Broncos that will help fans get to know the Jets' new left tackle in the post D'Brickashaw era.
Here are nine neat notes about Clady:
1. Trench Warfare
He wasn't a top college recruit out of Eisenhower High School in Rialto, CA, after the 2004 season, but there was a reason for that. He played defensive tackle until his senior year. Boise State was one of only a few majors to recruit him, and he in fact started out as a scout-team DT as a true freshman. Boise fans say his line drills with LT Daryn Colledge (who went on to a 10-year pro career, finished with the Dolphins last year and just retired) were must-sees at training camp.
2. Knockdowns and Big Blocks
The next year, 2006, Clady was moved to offense and his career took off. In his two seasons as a Broncos OT, he racked up 224 knockdown blocks, 32 TD-resulting blocks and 13 downfield blocks. One of his key blocks famously came in overtime of the shocking 43-42 upset of No. 10 Oklahoma in the Jan. 1, 2007 Fiesta Bowl, when he sealed off the Sooners pursuit on a Statue of Liberty play that enabled Ian Johnson to score the winning two-point conversion.
"I didn't know if it would work or not, but I knew it was coming," he said at the time. "I knew the design and was excited to see how it would develop.
3. Three-Cone Master
After his '07 season, Clady opted for the NFL Draft. But in the combine before that draft, he strained a pectoral muscle in his first drill, the 225-pound benchpress, and sat out the rest of the drills. Yet in his pro day a few weeks later, he excelled in those drills he missed.
Pro day numbers don't always equate with combine numbers, but take this for what it's worth: Clady's 31-inch vertical jump, had he done it in Indy instead of Boise, would've been first among offensive linemen. And his 7.07-second 3-cone drill not only would have easily topped the OL that year, it would've been the second-best among all O-lineman in the last 10 years of combines.
4. Still a Boise Man of Distinction
For that reason plus his All-American college career, Clady went from the Boise State Broncos to the Denver Broncos with the 12th pick of the 2008 draft. He was the first BSU player to be selected in the first round of the draft and still is the highest-drafted Bronco.
5. Sack Preventer
Clady got off to a phenomenal pro start. Utilizing textbook tools such as his long wingspan, a crisp kick slide and a vicious hand punch, he has the unofficial NFL distinction of having played the most games from the start of a career without yielding a full sack, 20 games in all. Then, after some were writing his pro obituary for giving up 24.5 sacks from 2009-11, he allowed just one sack for the entire 2012 season — even while playing the last few regular-season games plus a playoff game with a labrum tear. And in his last season of action, '14, he gave up two sacks of Peyton Manning.
6. GoProBowl Adventure
Clady was named All-Pro first team twice and has started two Pro Bowls, played in three, and was named to a fourth. You can see Clady's two-minute YouTube GoPro video behind the scenes before the kickoff of the Pro Bowl after that '14 season.
7. Different Pressure ... Yet Similar
Clady was asked during an ESPN SportsNation chat in the 2012 offseason about the pressure of protecting Manning, the newly arrived "Sheriff." He seemed to say it wouldn't be a lot different than it was the previous year for the Broncos O-line.
"It will be a lot more pressure for sure," he replied. "But I think I'm up for the challenge. There was a lot of pressure last year protecting Tim Tebow and Tebowmania and what was going on."
Tell us about it.
8. Honoring the Memory of His Mom
Clady not surprisingly is a charitable guy. He's participated annually in Play60 events and cohosted an Orange & Blue Bowling Bash as part of Strikes For Kids. And he started the Sharon Kemp Clady Foundation. "I named it after my mom, who passed away when I was 13," he said. "It's really just about giving back. I've given back to my high school and then I do my event every year where we have some families come in from shelters and whatnot and we go Christmas shopping with them, which is really cool."
9. Fertile Ground for the Jets' O-Line
Purely coincidentally, the Jets have turned to the Super Bowl LXVIII rosters, played of course at MetLife Stadium, to find three offensive linemen who could be starters on their 2016 team. Seattle RT Breno Giacomini arrived first shortly after that game as an unrestricted free agent. Seahawks LG James Carpenter came in last year as a UFA. And Clady was on Denver's IR that season and in the stadium that day for the 'Hawks' 43-8 rout of the Broncos.
Four-Time Pro Bowler Becomes the Newest Addition on Offensive Line