Please allow me to explain a little further why I saw cleans as a great exercise:
With about four years of weightlifting under my belt, I joined a gym that had Olympic weights. The guys I worked out with started doing the Olympic lifts. I was 6’0" with long legs and did a horrible version of a front squat. We did this for about six weeks and we lost interest, but I continued with the clean as part of my shoulder routine (the second exercise after the overhead press).
The clean I used was what we called a hanging clean. Once I pulled the bar off the floor for the first rep, it never touched the ground until I completed the set. As you know it is power that gets the bar high enough to get your arms under it. (I did no version of a squat or split during the movement, though I did use calves as part of the explosion.) The negative was pretty much plyometric in action.
By the time I got my weight up to 225lbs for 8 reps, I was weighing around 200lbs. Then our little group decided to powerlift. One of the guys had competed in some powerlifting meets, therefore he was pretty much our coach.
This was the mid-1970’s and training was much different than it is now. When I say nobody deadlifted in any gym I had been to, I mean NOBODY deadlifted, apart from pulling the weight off the ground to do another exercise, e.g., press, curl, row, or in my case clean.
Our “coach” showed us the traditional style deadlift, and he warned that we might not do too well at first. On that day I pulled 455lbs. I believe that it was the power I obtained doing hanging cleans that gave me that initial strength.
I tend to believe that the plyometric “negative” of the hanging clean built size. I will admit it might have been everything else that I did.
I should add that could see no situation where I would limit my weight training to 2 or even 4 exercises. But if I could do only 3, they would be squat, bench press, and hanging cleans.