Grading the Packers' pick: Clark fares well

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The NFL draft experts have weighed in on the first round of the NFL draft, and for the most part, the Green Bay Packers' pick of UCLA defensive lineman Kenny Clark was met with approval.

UCLA defensive lineman Kenny Clark performs a drill at the NFL scouting combine.

In a quick survey of 10 experts' analysis, Clark and the Packers graded out well, scoring a B- or better on eight of the 10 report cards. Here's a rundown:

Steven Ruiz, USA Today

Clark isn’t a sexy pick — run defenders never are — but he fills the gigantic hole on the Packers' defensive line left by B.J. Raji. He’s a heady player who understands opposing run games and rarely loses track of ball carriers. Green Bay finished 21st against the run in 2015; Clark could elevate the run into the top-half of the league. Grade:  B+

Eric Edholm,

The Packers have a history of taking front-seven defenders in the first round, and Clark helps right away. He adds a big body in the middle, which Green Bay needed after B.J. Raji said he's taking a hiatus from the NFL. Clark is an aggressive tackle whose effort won't be questioned. It doesn't solve Green Bay's inside linebacker issues – and the Packers did pass on Reggie Ragland to take Clark – but Clark does provide immediate help to the middle of the defense. Grade: B-

Steve Palazzolo, Pro Football Focus

Often overlooked in a deep defensive line class, Clark is a strong run defender that can push the pocket with the best bull rush in the draft. There’s not a clean fit along the defensive line for Clark, but he’ll likely play defensive end in their 3-4 scheme while dabbling inside at nose tackle. He’s not a pure nose, as he wins in the running game by reading blocks and getting up and down the line of scrimmage, and he sometimes struggles with power at the point of attack. Clark finished at +43.9 overall — good for 12th in the loaded class — and finishing fifth in the nation with 34 run stops. His excellent run game instincts will give him an early-down role, though he has to develop more than just a bull rush as a pass rusher, as he rarely wins with speed either to the outside or inside of blockers. Grade: C+

Chad Reuter,

There wasn't much question that the Packers were going to bolster their front seven with their opening pick. Another no-brainer will be fan comparisons of the careers of their selection, Clark, and two available Alabama studs: linebacker Reggie Ragland and nose tackle Jarran Reed. Grade:  B+

Dan Kadar, SB Nation

As expected, the Packers took a defensive lineman in the first round. They had their choice of several, and took a dependable one with Clark. He's experienced playing in a 3-4 defense and can play the nose or at end. My preference would have been one of the Alabama linemen like Jarran Reed or A'Shawn Robinson, but Clark can step into a prominent role early.  Grade: B-

Doug Farrar,

This isn't a sexy pick, given Clark's relative inability to rush the passer, but Clark is an instant wall for a defensive line in need of stability. At 6' 3" and 314 pounds, he can play 3-tech in a four-man front, or kick out to end in a 3–4 base. He's also a natural nose tackle with tremendous strength, and he's only 20 years old—he's got a lot of great football in front of him. He may be a two-down rotational guy to start his NFL career, with the opportunity to do a lot more. Grade: A

Pete Prisco,

Every time I watched Myles Jack on tape, this kid flashed. I thought he would go here. It made sense. Grade: B+

Mark Maske, Washington Post

B.J. Raji is gone and Green Bay sensibly fortified its defensive line. But was Clark the right pick with Jarran Reed, A’Shawn Robinson and Andrew Billings still available? Grade: B-

Mike Tanier, Bleacher Report

Clark is a film junkie who anticipates the snap count, diagnoses blocking schemes and out-thinks his blockers. Those skills don’t translate as well to the NFL as you might expect: Pro blockers are less predictable and more likely to grind a lot of film themselves than guys in the Pac-12. Still, Clark should excel at the smaller tasks of defensive line play: sniffing out screens, cleaning up sacks after the quarterback is flushed from the pocket, and so on. You can tell why the Packers like Clark: He's like a giant Ted Thompson. That said, there are many other defensive tackles on the board with higher upside than Clark. Grade:  C+

Jared Mueller,

Very few defensive linemen so far. Pack tend to go big, early and often. A big, fast defensive linemen. A little high for Clark over the two 'Bama players. Grade: B-

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