The Las Vegas Raiders selected a pair of defensive ends in the 2019 NFL Draft, Maxx Crosby and Clelin Ferrell. While the former played better than the latter last season, both will benefit from defensive coach Rod Marinelli’s arrival.
Crosby became a steady contributor in the second half of the 2019 season. He was responsible for ten quarterback hits and eight sacks in the last eight games. If that kind of performance can carry over, he should quickly join conversations regarding the NFL’s most talented young defensive players. Although Ferrell didn’t have as much of an impact as Crosby, it’s too early for Raiders brass to give up in him. On the contrary, if his offseason training pays off, he can become the player Raiders brass thought they drafted fourth overall.
The Cataclysm For Improvement
Marinelli joined the Raiders coaching staff last January to oversee the team’s offensive line. While he could eventually take over defensive coordinator duties, he will have an immediate impact as a position coach. In his time in Dallas, he led a unit that was an asset never let itself be pushed around. Marinelli helped defensive end Demarcus Lawrence become a Pro Bowler and turned defensive tackle Maliek Collins into a solid starter.
That wasn’t even Marinelli’s best work as a position coach. That would come with Tampa Bay and it’s Super Bowl winning defense back in 2002. That year, Marinelli would pull his Magnus Opus with Anthony McFarland, Simeon Rice, Greg Spires and Warren Sapp leading the front four.
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Marinelli’s resume clearly proves the Raiders defensive line is in good hands. He will place newcomers Carl Nassib and his protege Collins in position to success. However, Crosby and Ferrell will benefit the most as those two are still developing and haven’t reached their ceiling yet. Even Arden Key could salvage his career and be the impact player the Raiders expected him to become.
There have been many changes to the Raiders coaching staff in recent years, with mixed results. Nevertheless, Marinelli’s hiring will turn out to be one of the best moves the organization has made recently.
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Top Photo: Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News