Should Raiders Expect Sack Increase from DE Clelin Ferrell?

Defensive end Clelin Ferrell had a polarizing rookie season for the Las Vegas Raiders after being selected in the first round. Would a sack increase be a realistic expectation in 2020?

Coming into the NFL as a first-round selection is never easy, you’re thrust into the spotlight and are expected to contribute immediately. After being chosen with the fourth overall pick, Ferrell came into the Raiders with those lofty expectations. His rookie season has brought quite the polarizing debate amongst fans. Some believe the way he was used led to the numbers he posted. Others feel that he wasn’t worthy of such a high selection.

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It would be asinine to declare Ferrell a bust after just one season. With that being said, it would help the Raiders tremendously if he could increase his sack total. In 2019, Ferrell totaled just four and a half sacks. Unfortunately, that doesn’t exactly translate as an investment return, especially, with the fourth overall pick. Scott Bair of NBC Sports recently predicted that Ferrell will increase the aforementioned sacks, “A quantum leap doesn’t mean Ferrell will hit double-digit sacks. He could go from 4.5 to 8.0 without a problem, balancing extra pressure in the passing game with an improvement on already solid run defense.”

Eight Sacks? No Problem

Making a jump to eight sacks would be a welcomed improvement by the Raiders. Ferrell did show flashes of brilliance and had 15 total QB pressures by the year’s end. The amount of talent now featured within the defensive line should help him tremendously. As Bair pointed out, “the Raiders’ front four should be productive getting after the quarterback, with Ferrell, Collins, Maxx Crosby, and new edge rusher Carl Nassib in the mix.”

A talented unit soon to be under the tutelage of new defensive line coach Rod Marinelli will help Ferrell undoubtedly next season. Add in the work he’s been putting in this offseason and Ferrell’s sophomore campaign has breakout season written all over it.

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*Top Photo: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

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Anonymous

If he keeps up the high-level run defense and has 8 sacks we look at Ferrell’s pick at 4 in a whole new light. With the addition of new LBs, a DT who can push the pocket in Collins, and the young returning core of a potential breakout player in Hurst, and Mad Maxx, Ferrell should absolutely have more opportunities this year. If he in fact does make the jump as a pass rusher, we may be looking at a respectable defense.