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Clark's past could damage future in NFL

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

NFL Network senior draft analyst Mike Mayock doesn't believe former Michigan defensive lineman Frank Clark, dismissed from the team last November after his arrest for domestic violence, will be drafted.

Defensive linemen are expected to arrive in Indianapolis on Thursday and have on-field workouts Sunday. Clark, who has been invited to the combine, is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing in Sandusky, Ohio, on Friday. He has pleaded not guilty to two misdemeanor charges.

Regardless, with the NFL's emphasis on domestic abuse awareness, Mayock believes Clark's off-field issues will be a concern.

"I think it's going to affect Frank Clark to the point he doesn't get drafted," Mayock said Monday during a conference call. "Unfortunately in our world, the more talent you have physically, the more rope we give you. I think if he was a first-round prospect, people would try to keep him alive longer. But because he's kind of a mid to late prospect, I think most teams are just going to (say), 'Let's not even deal with it.'"

Former Wolverines Jake Ryan and Devin Funchess also will participate in the combine. Former quarterback Devin Gardner, who has moved to wide receiver for the draft, was not invited.

Ryan, a linebacker, tore his anterior cruciate ligament during spring football before his junior year but managed to rehab and play the second half of the season.

"I like Jake Ryan," Mayock said. "(He) fought through that early knee injury at Michigan, has played several different positions, (and is) a little more athletic than people want to give him credit for. I watched him all week, kind of struggled early on at the East-West game covering man to man, but picked it up as the week went on. I think he's a fourth- or fifth-round pick as a linebacker, will make his living on special teams and will compete."

Funchess, who began his career at Michigan as a tight end but moved to receiver last season, is expected to play receiver in the NFL. Mayock said his position is up for debate.

"He's not even 21 years old yet, he's going to continue to grow," Mayock said. "He's got better movement skills than Kelvin Benjamin who went 28th last year to Carolina, so I'm looking at (Funchess) as a wideout, which is what he wants to be.

"(Kelvin) Benjamin from Florida State last year ran 4.62 at 6-5, 240 pounds, I think Funchess will be almost as big and run faster and probably even have better movement skills," Mayock said. "Will he gain 15 pounds in the next couple years? Is he going to be more of a Jimmy Graham (Saints tight end)? I think you just have to look at him as a mismatch and evaluate him that way."

Josh Katzenstein contributed

anegelique.chengelis@detroitnews.com

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