Daryll Clark is a smart quarterback. He puts in the extra time and effort to really learn the offense and study the opposing defense. He's really good at making the correct reads, and taking the check down when his primary target isn't there. He's also a really big guy standing about 6'5" and 235 lbs., and it's all muscle. Frankly, if Penn State hadn't been so stacked at the position, Joe Paterno might have turned him into a linebacker. He's got a decent arm with plenty of zip, but I wouldn't consider it elite arm strength. He's good at hitting the deep balls. He's quite mobile when he has to, but he's not like Michael Vick or anything. He's good at evading the pass rush and getting out of the pocket to buy time. If he has to he can scramble for the sticks.
I've always felt like Clark has a tough time controlling his emotions. He likes to take on a leadership role in practice, and people really rallies around him. But when he gets into a game situation and things don't go right he tends to beat himself up, and suddenly that leadership role leads the rest of the team into feeling defeated. Also, he has a tendency to start games a little too pumped up. When this happens he struggles with accuracy and tends to overshoot his target. He can throw a deep ball well, but sometimes he struggles on accuracy and touch on his short throws.
For one thing, I can tell you Clark must be absolutely thrilled to be a Washington Redskin. All through college he wore #17 in honor of Doug Williams who was his childhood idol. To play the same position on the same team as Williams must be a thrill. I think my favorite Daryll Clark moment came against Wisconsin in 2008. Nobody really expected much out of Penn State prior to the season, but they won their first six games over pretty lousy competition. In week seven they had to travel to Wisconsin, which is one of the toughest venues in the Big Ten for a road team to go in and get a win. Nobody gave Penn State much of a chance to come away with a victory, but Daryll Clark was absolutely spectacular in that game throwing for 244 yards and accounting for three touchdowns. On one of his touchdown runs he smashed through the line and gave a fist pump that will probably go down as the defining image of his Penn State career.
Chances of Playing Right Away
I dont' think it's likely you will see Daryll Clark make an immediate contribution on the field. He's going to need some time to learn the NFL offense. Like a lot of college football teams these days, Penn State runs a version of the spread, which is kind of a glorified version of the old Wing-T offense. Only in Penn State's version they utilize a more vertical passing attack. I think Clark has the work ethic and the physical tools to succeed in the NFL eventually, but he's going to need a year to learn the system, and then he's probably going to need another year until he really feels comfortable. Unfortunately for him, in a league with salary caps and limited space on the roster, not many teams are willing to coddle an undrafted free agent that long unless they see some serious upside. If the Redskins are patient with him, they could one day have a serviceable quarterback.
Training camp will be interesting. Ken and I were just debating what this means for Colt Brennan. For some reason Redskins fans have that fanaticism for Colt, but I just haven't seen anything from his production (even in camp) to warrant it. He had a long off-season with his hip injury, but Shanny obviously has no bias to him like Zorn did. Either way, let's hope the Redskins are never in a situation where they need their third QB. Actually, let's hope they're never in a situation they need their second QB(Rex Grossman).
Special thanks again to Mike (BSD) for taking the time to write this report up.