The Las Vegas Raiders are hoping their defense as a whole can come together in a big way in 2020. For that to happen, 2019 first-round pick Clelin Ferrell will need a monster second year.
The first-round selections for the Raiders last year led to hope for many in Raider Nation. At first glance, the Raiders picked a hard-hitting and brash safety, a potential star and hard-working running back, and a foundational piece for the defensive line. The first two caused much enthusiasm but it was the latter that proved to be very polarizing. Fans were probably expecting a replacement for former all-world defender, Khalil Mack. The problem is that there’s no other Mack. With Ferrell, the Raiders knew exactly what they were getting, even if it flew over fans heads.
Khalil Mack Isn’t Walking Through Those Doors
Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal recently wrote as much in regard to Ferrell.
“The Raiders invested the fourth overall pick in the 2019 draft on Ferrell, knowing he wasn’t a one-dimensional speed rush defensive end who would wow with his sack production. In their vision, he projected as a traditional edge-setting end who could stand up against the run and, in time, rush the passer.”
Patience Is Key
Ferrell’s role lends itself to long-term results. In other words, even if his rookie numbers weren’t eye-popping, the plan is in place, and with that comes patience. The addition of Rod Marinelli as Raider’s defensive line coach will also play a role in how Ferrell is used next season. More importantly, fans should be excited about Marinelli handling Ferrell’s development considering his track record. Not just Ferrell by the way, but the line in general, in particular, defensive end Maxx Crosby who proved to be last year’s draft steal.
“Ferrell flashed some of those traits in his rookie season, but he needs to do more in Year Two. After vowing to return this year a changed player both physically and mentally, by all indications he’s completely changed his body and is on target to make good on his promise.”
Combined with an offseason program that’s helping Ferrell put on muscle and another year in the Raiders defensive scheme, the potential is there. Unfortunately, until all this promise and potential translates into production, it will remain just that, potential. Football can’t get here soon enough! Let us know what you think in our comments section, Ramble On Raider Nation!
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*Top Photo: Michael Hickey/Getty Images