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Friday open thread: At what point should the Lions consider drafting LB Damone Clark?

Clark is likely to miss his entire rookie season due after having back surgery.

Florida v LSU Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

LSU Damone Clark is one of the top linebackers in this year's draft class, but NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported that he underwent “spinal fusion surgery” on Thursday “after an MRI at the combine revealed a herniated disk”. Clark is likely to miss his entire rookie season, but he “is expected to make a full recovery.”

Highly talented and intelligent, things clicked for Clark during his senior season. After a solid season at LSU, he earned an invitation to the Senior Bowl, was paired with the Lions coaching staff, and started at the MIKE in the game.

Next up was the Combine where he was once again a standout performer in positional drills and was able to test in the elite athletic range—all with a herniated disk:

Additionally, Clark has ties to the Detroit Lions, via linebacker coach Kelvin Sheppard, who was at LSU during the 2020 season.

“Damone Clark, that’s like my little brother,” Sheppard told Lions Wire’s Jeff Risdon on the Detroit Lions Podcast at the Senior Bowl. “That’s the guy that I mentored all last year. You talk full circle. When he found out he was playing on our team he was beyond ecstatic.”

With a need at the position and loads of contact/connections to the Lions, it would make sense that the two sides could come together in the draft. But when?

Clark was generally regarded as a top-100 pick whose stock was on the rise and in some circles, he was believed to be in contention for the Lions at the top of the second round, pick No. 34. As we saw with Michigan edge rusher David Ojabo’s injury, Clark’s stock will surely fall but it may not plummet. That being said, with back surgery and no contributions on the table for 2022, he surely seems destined for Day 3 of the draft.

And that brings us to our question of the day:

At what point should the Lions consider drafting LSU LB Damone Clark?

The Lions are not in the best spot to grab Clark if he falls to Day 3, because they aren’t on the clock until pick No. 177 at the end of the fifth round. Would they be willing to wait 75 picks into Day 3 and hope he is there?

Another option is that they trade up into the early parts of round four, as they did for linebacker Derrick Barnes. But again, would they be willing to part with the draft capital involved to move up to take a player who won’t contribute until 2023?

The third option is to try and jump ahead of the Day 3 crowd and select him at pick No. 97 at the end of Day 2. The risk here is, potentially overspending draft capital. Would the Lions be willing to spend a top-100 pick on a non-contributing player with so many other needs at this stage of the rebuild?

My answer: I’m interested in trading up into the fourth round to grab Clark

If we look back to the Barnes trade, the Lions gave up pick No. 153 and a future fourth rounder to get the pick to acquire him and a seventh-round pick (which turned into RB Jermar Jefferson). I’d take this same approach.

Offer pick No. 177 and a future fourth in exchange for the first team willing to give me a fourth and a seventh-round pick. I would not offer anything higher than that, but I would be willing to give up the seventh-round pick if necessary.

In my eyes, getting Clark for essentially two Day 3 picks (one in 2022 and one in 2023) is a steal, considering I was on board taking him at No. 34 overall. If I could squeeze another pick out of the deal so I can maintain my picks quantity, all the better.

Ok, your turn. Vote in the poll and let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Poll

At what point should the Lions consider drafting LSU LB Damone Clark?

This poll is closed

  • 55%
    Stand pat and hope he falls to pick No. 177
    (973 votes)
  • 33%
    Trade up using the Derrick Barnes Model
    (578 votes)
  • 11%
    Be aggressive and secure him at pick No. 97
    (198 votes)
1749 votes total Vote Now