After his polarizing rookie campaign for the Las Vegas Raiders, Clelin Ferrell looks to make most of this current offseason.
As a rookie, Ferrell experienced the growing pains of playing defensive end in the NFL. According to Pro Football Focus, Ferrell had four and a half sacks on 26 quarterback pressures (Please note: PFF sack totals differ from NFL sack totals since they do not award half sacks). While he held his own as a run defender with 22 tackles, the second-year player expects to improve as a pass rusher going forward.
An Underwhelming Season
Selected number four overall in the 2019 NFL draft, Ferrell’s play was scrutinized after other defensive players, such as Nick Bosa and Josh Allen, had double the sack numbers in comparison. Despite that, Ferrell plans to build off his uneven rookie season and recognizes the importance of improving during the offseason.
“I’m just excited for the offseason,” Ferrell told Vic Tafur of The Athletic. “When I come back, I will probably be a completely different player … You probably won’t even recognize me. Seriously.”
It’s not uncommon for defensive ends to start their NFL careers at a slow pace, only to improve with time. Recently, 2018 draft pick Marcus Davenport had similar production in his rookie year: Four and a half sacks on 28 quarterback pressures. According to Pro Football Focus, Davenport had a 63.6 pass-rush grade his rookie year. That was very similar to Ferrell’s 60.1 in the same time span. In 2019, Davenport improved to six sacks on 51 quarterback pressures. Another example is defensive end, Michael Bennett. It wasn’t until his fourth season that he achieved nine sacks on 71 quarterback pressures.
During the offseason, Ferrell trained under the tutelage of private defensive line coach Mark Hall. The Raiders defensive end worked out along Arik Armstead, Christian Wilkins, DeForest Buckner, and Dexter Lawrence.
Armstead attributed his 2019 success to the offseason and in-season work he put in with Hall. They both worked together the past four years.
A Look Ahead
With the busy offseason the Las Vegas Raiders had on defense, they bolstered the defensive line with the additions of defensive end Carl Nassib and defensive tackles Maliek Collins and Daniel Ross. Ferrell should receive added help with the improvement of the interior defensive line. Collins achieved four sacks on 48 quarterback pressures with the Dallas Cowboys in 2019. If Maurice Hurst can build off his last year’s performance of three and a half sacks on 38 quarterback pressures. Expect a big improvement from Ferrell and the rest of the defensive line in 2020.
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*Top Photo: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports