That dude’s flummoxed-turned-disgusted look on ESPN’s draft coverage when Clelin Ferrell was announced as the Raiders pick at No. 4 overall was classic. That likely summed up a lot of Raider Nation’s feels right there.
If you’re not a film junkie and don’t look outside the draft buzz and media hype, the Ferrell selection seems atrocious. But watch the kid’s film at Clemson and you’ll see the second most complete defensive end prospect in this draft class.
Then at 24, the Raiders plucked arguably the most complete running back in Alabama’s Josh Jacobs and destroyer of a safety in Mississippi State’s Johnathan Abram.
Hold up, though.
This piece isn’t meant to be all sunshine and roses. This is the worst-case scenario comparison for the Raiders first rounders, after all. This is the pessimist view. So let’s get to it.
Ferrell: Dante Fowler/Tyler Brayton
Fowler was a destructive presence both against the run and pass in college. He wreaked havoc in the backfield dropping quarterbacks and running backs alike. Brayton was an edge setter who used his size and strength along with his non-stop motor to stymie the run at every opportunity.
However, once both got the pros, it was a different story.
Fowler had a flash of pass rush dominance but hasn’t been the advertised terror, while Brayton’s motor never stopped but his effectiveness waned.
Ferrell was an edge setter, pass rusher and defensive line tone setter on a line that featured NFL-caliber talent. Not only that, but the Tigers were sound at linebacker and in the secondary. The same can’t be said of Oakland — yet.
If his violence, strength and adequate speed don’t translate in the pros, Ferrell could be the next Fowler/Brayton.
Jacobs: TJ Yeldon
Like his fellow Alabama alum, Yeldon was a game-breaker and consistent producer for the Crimson Tide. A combination of size, speed and vision, Yeldon sliced through opposing defenses like a hot knife through butter. Yeldon too was an all-around talent who could run and catch. But he had a non-descript four-year run with Jacksonville before signing with Buffalo recently as a free agent.
The Raiders are surely hoping JJ doesn’t fall into the same Alabama tailback bust category. Unlike other ‘Bama backs, Jacobs wasn’t used as much and should be relatively fresh for a tailback coming out of a big-time program. Still, history shows the backs out of Alabama can bust — badly.
Abram: Derrick Gibson
Gruden wanted an enforcer safety during his first go-around with the Raiders and Al Davis gave him Gibson. A big, fast, strong and powerful hitter, Gibson’s rarely showed up as the same feared defensive back he was at Florida State.
And here we are again, in Gruden Round 2, and the coach needs an enforcer. Abram has the tools, but so did Gibson and Mike Mitchell before him.
Is Abram different than DG and Missile Mike?