Raider Rookies: Clelin Ferrell

With the forth pick in the Draft, the Raiders selected EDGE rusher Clelin Ferrell.  Below is a look at what Ferrell brings to the table.

Raider Nation may not like the pick, but personally I like it a lot. Ferrell fills the team’s biggest need and while he wasn’t the best athlete available, he is a great football player. Not only was Ferrell a National Champion, but also he was a captain for Clemson. It’s easy to see why and how Gruden fell in love him. 

People might say the Raiders could have traded back for Ferrell, but most teams trade up to take a quarterback and the Giants might have been the only team that viewed Daniel Jones as a first round pick.  After Jones, the next quarterback taken was Dwayne Haskins at pick 15 and the Packers took EDGE rusher Rashan Gary at pick 12. If the Raiders traded back with Washington, the Packers could have swiped Ferrell from the Raiders. 

Stats from Sports Reference:

Year Total Tackles Tackles For Loss Sacks
2015 1 0 0
2016 44 12.5 6
2017 66 18 9.5
2018 55 20 11.5
Career 166 50.5 27

The sacks and tackles for loss really jump off the page. In 2018, about 37 percent of his tackles were for loss, that’s impressive.

Fit for the Raiders

After listening to ESPN’s Dan Graziano talk about the Raiders’ decision to draft Ferrell, it appears that the Raiders view Ferrell as extremely versatile and can play just about anywhere along the defensive line. Ferrell’s primary position will likely be strong side defensive end, but look for Paul Guenther to use Ferrell at multiple spots along the defensive line. If for some reason Ferrell is not a starter on day one, he should have no problem beating out Benson Mayowa and Josh Mauro. It’s pretty plain and simple; you don’t draft a guy top five and put him on the bench. Unless Arden Key steps up in a big way, Clelin Ferrell is the best pass rusher on the roster. 

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Ferrell plays with his hands in front of him and uses them well. This helps him against both the run and the pass. He has excellent instincts and seems to have a high football IQ. He showed a few different effective pass rush moves on the edge, but will need to drop his pad level on inside moves so he stops getting caught. Ferrell did drop in coverage from time to time, but likely isn’t athletic enough to cover in the NFL.

At the end of the day, he played on the best Defensive Line in college football and lined up against the other team’s Left Tackle every week. Clelin Ferrell reminds me a lot of Justin Tuck, he may not be the most athletic, but he gets the job done. 

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