Looking back at the Las Vegas Raiders’ 2019 campaign while looking ahead to this season, one thing is clear: Defensive end Clelin Ferrell has to step up. Recently, Pro Football Focus talked about the road he still has to travel.
Coming in as the fourth overall pick for the Raiders last year, Ferrell was in a hard spot. Having been chosen ahead of other players Raider Nation clamored for didn’t help. Rather, it put hefty expectations on the Clemson product, and rightfully so since such a high pick needs to translate into a franchise player. It might sound unfair but it’s true, or else in two to three years people might look back and say the Raiders overreached.
Lofty expectations and fanfare aside, not all is lost for Ferrell. As most fans know by now, the defensive end has put on muscle and is looking to bounce back. Also, the defensive line collectively is in much better shape with the addition of Maliek Collins and Carl Nassib. Long time defensive line guru Rod Marinelli joining the Raiders’ ranks will surely help Ferrell in his second year.
Raiders Expectations for Ferrell
Steve Palazzolo of Pro Football Focus recently gave an early preview of the 2020 Raiders season. In it, he notes Ferrell is the one player in most need of improvement.
“Expectations are often high for pass-rushers drafted at No. 4 overall, but Ferrell did not get off to a good start, ultimately closing out his rookie campaign with a pass-rush win percentage of 8.9% that ranked 105th among edge defenders.”
Due to Ferrell’s position as a pass-rusher, many fans expected double-digit sacks at the very least. To make matters worse, Ferrell was outplayed by teammate Maxx Crosby, a fourth-round pick. Strictly looking at his PFF numbers, Ferrell’s 2019 paints an unimpressive picture for the fourth overall pick. His pass-rushing grade of 60.1 is concerning, also, for the year he totaled 350 pass-rushing snaps. These two numbers will increase in his second year, he’ll hopefully find himself at his natural position more than being rotated all over the line.
In the end, the stat that everyone focuses is on will be the sack total. For Ferrell, that’ll have to increase as Palazzolo points out, “He is a solid run defender who can move around the defensive line, but Ferrell has to show that he can get to the quarterback if he’s to prove his worth as a top-five pick.” The Raiders must know all this as well, fans can only hope Ferrell grades out better after 2020, or else the word bust might start to make its rounds.
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