We’re continuing our countdown to the opening game of the Dallas Cowboys 2023 regular season. Each day we’ll present a new player whose jersey number represents the countdown to opening day. Today is number 33.
LB Damone Clark
Born: 28th June 2000 (24) - New Orleans, Louisiana
College: LSU Tigers
Draft: 2022, Round 5, Pick 176, Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys have selected LSU LB Damone Clark with the 176th pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. pic.twitter.com/9VFrfO4WKV— Blogging The Boys (@BloggingTheBoys) April 30, 2022
Defensive Snaps: 398 (34%)
Defensive Stops: 16
Cowboys LB Damone Clark said the Cowboys’ medical staff members were ones who told him at combine of herniated disk, which led to fusion surgery that he believes will extend NFL career. “It’s crazy that this is the team that drafted me. So I already feel comfortable being here.” https://t.co/QE5DzAcsqa— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) May 14, 2022
Damone Clark started his college career in 2018 with the LSU Tigers. He spent his freshman year playing almost exclusively on special teams. The next season saw him play more in the rotation as a Will linebacker. He recorded 49 tackles, five sacks and 22 defensive stops while helping LSU win a National Championship after beating Clemson 42-25.
In 2020, Clark was awarded with the much coveted number 18 jersey by his coaches and teammates. He led the team in tackles with 63 and also recorded four tackles for loss and a sack.
As Clark entered his senior season he was showing great leadership on defense. He would lead the team again in tackles with 135 total tackles. He also led the team in tackles for loss (15), forced fumbles (2) and was second on the team in sacks (5). He would enter the draft touted as a top-100 prospect.
It was a crazy turn of events for Clark who saw his NFL dreams begin to slip away during the NFL Scouting Combine. Cowboys physician Dr. Andrew Clavenna found a herniated disc in his neck during a routine MRI at the combine. Clark had never missed a game at LSU due to injury and suddenly found himself in a situation that required him to have spinal surgery, and questions as to whether he would ever play football again were brought up.
But it seemed destiny for Clark to become a Cowboy since it was the team doctor that not only discovered the injury, he also had experience in the recovery process with players like Leighton Vander Esch. The Cowboys took the chance and drafted him in the fifth-round expecting to redshirt him during the rookie year. But what the team wasn’t expecting was his work ethic and dedication to the game. By training camp, Clark was up and rehabbing while taking mental reps, and by Week 8 he was taking snaps against Chicago. This is nothing short of miraculous based on his injury. By the end of his rookie season, Clark had tallied 47 tackles (one for loss), two forced fumbles and 16 defensive stops. For a player not expected to play, and to then produce having not practiced much with the team was an outstanding accomplishment.
2023 Roster Projection:
If Clark can produce the way he did without much practice time or time in camp, you have to wonder where his ceiling can be this year being injury free and able to practice fully from the start. The linebacker position for Dallas holds many questions this year, mostly over durability, but one thing everyone can agree on is that Clark is talented. He will look to resume his role as the teams starting Will linebacker and chase down the ball carrier, which is something he’s extremely well at doing. Providing he hits no setbacks, it’s very likely we could see a breakout season for Clark and be one of the shining stars on an already stellar defense. Now he just needs go out and play consistently.
‘The game has slowed down a ton. … It’s about learning from last year and going out there to hit some people.’— Patrik [No C] Walker (@VoiceOfTheStar) August 5, 2023
Damone Clark has a full offseason now under his belt with Dan Quinn and the #Cowboys, and he looks every part the menace he was at LSU.
✍ https://t.co/sc6YH7lk3w pic.twitter.com/BlKeZwfVAU
Projected 2023 Stats:
Defensive Stops: 48
The Big Question:
How do you feel about Damone Clark and his ceiling this year? Answer in the comments.