Saints lineman Will Clapp plays well in NFL debut
Home grown lineman Will Clapp, a New Orleans Saints rookie, had his patience and hard work rewarded on Monday night.
Against the Carolina Panthers in a 12-9 victory, the former LSU standout filled in admirably at left guard in the second half to help secure a crucial victory. The Saints, now with a 12-2 mark, are clearly in the driver’s seat in the NFC as the season winds down.
Clapp, a former Brother Martin All-State performer and first team All-SEC center, was selected by his hometown team in the 7th round (254th overall) of the 2018 NFL Draft. He had started 36 games during his final three seasons in Baton Rouge at guard and center.
After spending the season as a weekly inactive player, Clapp received word that he would be active against the Panthers during a Saturday walkthrough. Saints coach Sean Payton called for the field goal unit. When 10 players marched onto the field, Will Clapp was informed the final spot belonged to him. The announcement was followed by a hearty applause by the entire team.
No. 64 was assigned to be part of the Saints offensive jumbo package as a blocker along with duties on the kicking team.
Clapp’s parents Heather and Tommy have been there every step of the way in Will’s career. They wouldn’t miss this opportunity to see him play in his first NFL regular season game. They hopped on a plane and arrived in time for kickoff Monday evening. Their trip was well worth it.
Clapp played 19 snaps, grading a very respectable 73.2 on PFF for his efforts.
The move to activate and play Clapp in a a crucial game demonstrated a lot of confidence in him from the Saints. It was Monday Night Football and a low scoring physical matchup.
Clapp had a few key moments but none more so than the second level block on Carolina linebacker Thomas Davis, enabling Alvin Kamara to move the sticks on during a late fourth quarter drive.
Was the Saints rookie nervous about his first real NFL game action? Dad confirmed the obvious.
“He was a little nervous,” chuckled Tommy Clapp, “but he was more concerned about facing Julius Peppers, who entered the league when William was six-years old.”
Peppers was part of Clapp’s lone blemish of the night, when he slipped past the rookie and nailed Drew Brees as he released the ball on one throw.
The Saints had a glimpse of what the future might hold with Will Clapp and center Cameron Tom. Both gained significant experience in the the late stages of the win over the Panthers. Both playing major roles due to injuries to Jermon Bushrod and Max Unger earlier in the contest showed New Orleans has quality depth in the trenches.
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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, Rene Nadeau has been involved in sports ever since his earliest memories. Rene played basketball, wrestled, ran track, and was an All-District running back in football at John F. Kennedy High School. He went on to be a member of the LSU football program, developing a passion for the game in even…