NY Jets’ fourth-round pick Cameron Clark won’t be seeing the field anytime soon.
The likes of Mekhi Becton and Denzel Mims have already established themselves as building blocks of the offense moving forward. We’ve seen some solid contributions from late-rounders such as Bryce Hall and Braden Mann.
But as for Clark, he’s one of just two members of the Jets’ nine-man class who is yet to make his NFL debut — along with fellow fourth-rounder James Morgan.
Part of this has been due to injuries that have kept him sidelined for a lot of the season. Clark missed time in training camp due to a shoulder injury and didn’t even put on pads until the last week of August.
The Jets then placed Clark on injured reserve to start the season after injuring his knee during the final days of camp. That injury forced him to miss almost the first two months of the season as he returned from injured reserve on Oct. 24.
But since his return, he hasn’t been able to crack the starting lineup. In fact, he’s struggled to even be on the active gameday roster.
Head coach Adam Gase was finally asked about the team’s hesitance to play Clark on Friday. And Gase seemed to confirm what many have believed about the rookie to this point.
“You don’t want to just throw a rookie in there and he’s not ready to go. He’s done a good job of preparing himself. It’s all about, hey, just keep getting those reps.”
It’s the “he’s not ready to go” that is most significant from that quote. Evidently, the Jets don’t feel that Clark is ready for actual in-game snaps. Now, while some will be quick to panic, this does make plenty of sense.
The NY Jets are right not to rush Cameron Clark if he isn’t ready
Clark was a fourth-round pick from a small school in Charlotte. He’s being asked to play a position he never played in college transitioning from offensive tackle to offensive guard. Combine that will all the time he’s missed and it’s easy to see why his development has been curbed a little.
The Jets always knew that Clark would be somewhat of a project. That notion has been exasperated by the lack of a true offseason and various injuries that have kept him off the practice field.
It really shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that he hasn’t been able to play in a game yet. Ideally, the Jets would get a closer look at Clark over the final few games of the season.
But as Gase said, it’s best not to rush him on the field if he’s not ready yet.
Patience is important in situations like this. Clark’s situation is hardly a unique one. And while fans want immediate results, sometimes it’s best to just wait and let things play out.
Either way, don’t expect to see Clark on the field this season unless absolutely necessary.