Man Cover Skills - Like his patience at the LOS and his length provides difficulty to receivers to get a clean release in press coverage. His mirror skills are complicated by some sloppy feet at the top of the break and his lack of length — which causes him to get knocked off the hip of his man when he's carrying vertically.
Zone Cover Skills - He's got a good nose for the football and his ball hawking flashes as he plays shallow zone or bail technique to drop off the LOS to key on the hand of the quarterback. His length and short area juice offer him some upside to attack the football. Willing to take some risks to jump for turnovers.
Feet/COD - He has rapid step frequency and for his length and size he's got good step frequency. His gear down ability to play pattern match is watered down and he can be prone to over-striding from the trail position — losing his stickiness and falling off the frame. He's got some suddenness to click and close on action in front of his face.
Ball Skills - He's a savvy when the ball is in the air. Shows good reactive quickness and his mobility and length pair quite well for him to jump into the action and undercut throws or drive and work around the frame of receivers to bat at and win positioning to the ball.
Flexibility - Super fluid through the hips and he's got all the needed mobility for transitions to flip his hips and carry route releases and protect vertically. He's got a dynamic lower half and is able to drop step and drive to coil and bounce into the action. Capable of extending the torso and disrupting action at the catch point.
Acceleration - Long speed should be sufficient to play on an island and he's got the stride length to open up and go stride for stride if he's attacked vertically. He's got better short area quickness than you'd expect for his length and does well to spring forward as well as sliding at the LOS.
Defensive Spacing - He's got some troubles when tasked with driving into hard angled routes once he's committed his hips. Similarly struggles with leverage and staying attached to the hip when engaged in hand fighting with bigger, more potent receivers. Troublesome lack of consistency in coverage in stretches of play.
Competitive Toughness - He's a scrappy presence on the outside and remains pesky at the catch point. That said, he isn't overly inspirational with this presence to collapse blockers, eagerness to step down into the pile or effective with his one on one challenges. He needs more functional strength, period.
Run Support - Doesn't have the same gusto for attacking as a run defender as he does swooping in for the football. He's got length and twitch needed to stack or beat blockers but he's at times half hearted in drive to the ball and his tackling is pretty spotty all around to serve as a clean up option on the outside.
Tackling - Bounces off too many tackles and his cut challenges don't bring enough kick to sweep ball carriers off their feet. He's got good wingspan for wrap and roll but he can take overly ambitious angles and lose his leverage on the play. Can be a bit careless at the catch point to secure the body of the receiver, too.
Best Trait - Ball Skills
Worst Trait - Functional Strength
Best Film - Connecticut (2019)
Worst Film - Cincinnati (2019)
Red Flags - None
Player Summary - Nevelle Clarke serves as a developmental prospect for the pro level who has all the needed mobility, length and play-making mentality to play on the boundary in the NFL. Clarke's lack of play strength shows up throughout his game, however — which gives him a clear pathway to finding pro success: he needs to get stronger. If he's able to do so without compromising his mobility through the hips, it serves as a big win and greatly boosts his odds of becoming an NFL starter.