Ryan Clark, FS
Contract: 4-year, $7 million
Steelers Stats: 111 G, 109 GS, 667 tak, 2 sack, 12 int
Ryan Clark is a name that should conjure up happy memories of Troy Polamalu flying around the field like a maniac. One of the reasons the Steelers could utilize the now Hall of Famer in such a manner was because Clark was steadily holding down the other spot. Never the best player in the secondary, Clark was critical in not allowing the big play.
Brought in to replace the departing Chris Hope, Clark was a player that had flashed previously but had never been a constant contributor. He found the perfect role with the Steelers though. He never had to be “the guy” for the team, he had to be the sidekick. While a player that needs to be glorified may have struggled to play second fiddle to Polamalu, it was a role Clark dominated at.
This isn’t to say Clark was a subpar player (very far from it). He was an ideal FS, playing deep in coverage and coming up to stop the run when needed. He patrolled the deep secondary like a shark waiting to kill a WR trying to make the big play. He was such a critical piece that the team couldn’t fill his role until they traded for Minkah Fitzpatrick last season. Undoubtedly Clark deserves recognition for his play, but one player still remains atop this list.