If the Seahawks' preseason has been any indication, the team won't have to wait long to see results from its first pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.
Rookie defensive end Frank Clark, who Seattle selected in the second round (No. 63 overall) out of the University of Michigan, made his presence felt throughout the club's four exhibition games. His efforts were perhaps most noticeable against the Oakland Raiders this past Thursday, when Clark came roaring off the edge to record a sack and force a fumble of Raiders quarterback Matt McGloin in the end zone, a ball that Seahawks defensive tackle Jordan Hill recovered for a touchdown.
"The whole game I was just trying to time the snap, trying to time the snap and get comfortable with how their snap was called," Clark said of the play. "I saw that offensive guard give that signal to the center and I just got off the ball, timed it perfect, and was hoping I wasn't offsides.
"Once I got around the edge, I just went and did what I was supposed to do."
Clark made 15 tackles (eight solo) in preseason play, the most among all NFL defensive linemen. His two forced fumbles - one against Oakland and the other on a tackle-for-loss that came during Clark's first snap as a Seahawk in the preseason opener against the Denver Broncos - were tied for tops in the League this preseason with three other players (Chris Maragos, Eagles; Damontre Moore, Giants; Shane Ray, Broncos).
"He really, really has a great suddenness to him," Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. "And he's an instinctive football player that utilizes it."
The 6-foot-3, 272-pound Clark said he takes pride in playing multiple positions, and he's done well in doing so thus far, seeing time at the same spot along the D-line as versatile defensive end Michael Bennett, who led the club with 7.0 sacks and 11 tackles for loss while rushing the passer from both the inside and outside last season. The two players possess a unique combination of speed, strength, power, and athleticism that makes life difficult for opposing offensive lines, especially when they're on the field at the same time in the nickel defense working alongside fellow pass rush specialists Cliff Avril and Jordan Hill.
"I believe we can be the fastest D-line in the NFL," Clark said. "That's very noticeable. You just watch the film. I'm a big believer in just turning on the film and watching it. If you turn on our film compared to anybody else, it'll show."
With what Clark has shown so far, you can't blame him for being a little excited. But it's worth noting that some of his early success has come against NFL backups who are playing in games that, record-wise, don't matter. It helps prove that Clark is a class above some of his competition, but also reminds him that he has plenty left to prove.
"I'm a rookie still, and there's a lot of learning to be done still," he said. "It's only my first year, it's only my first four games playing professional football, and there's a lot of room to grow."
But as Carroll has noted, consistency is key when it comes to evaluating the progress of a first-year player, and Clark has been nothing but consistent with his play this past month.
"We're really excited about what he's done so far," said Carroll.
Meet the 2015 Seattle Seahawks 53-man roster in photos.