The Raiders envisioned defensive end Clelin Ferrell becoming a cornerstone defensive end. Although the Clemson product might’ve “underperfomed” in his rookie season, there are many factors that could help him improve in year two.
Why did the Raiders select Clelin Ferrell?
Raiders general manager Mike Mayock described Ferrell as a “foundational” player and someone who was “gonna set the tone” for the team. Looking back, the defensive end wasn’t that player in 2019. Fellow teammate Maxx Crosby ended up playing better in 2019 despite being a fourth-round selection.
The draft is a crapshoot and as much research as scouts do, there aren’t any guarantees when it comes to players. Having said that, it’s too early to give up on Ferrell. It’s true the Raiders may have expected more from the Clemson product. However, not all players develop at the same rate and some need more than than others to hit their stride.
Also, it isn’t as if Ferrell was a total bust. He certainly had mediocre numbers when considering he was a high draft selection. On the other hand, he did have 4.5 sacks in his rookie year and showed signs of improvement towards the end of the 2019 season.
Moreover, Ferrell has worked out during the offseason in order to bulk up. We could argue how much being underweight affected the defensive end in his rookie campaign but he’s conscious about the work he has to do if he wants to improve.
The Raiders got Ferrell some help
Raiders head coach Jon Gruden recently held some players such as P.J. Hall and Maurice Hurst accountable. Ferrell hasn’t gotten to that point yet and has a couple things going for him. Besides the fact he’s working on becoming a better player, the Silver and Black added defensive tackle Maliek Collins and coach Rod Marinelli. The former will take blocks away from Ferrell and the latter will get the most out of him.
Although it would be too much to expect Ferrell to become an All-Pro defensive end, there should definitely be an improvement. The consensus around the NFL seems to agree on this one. The exact prognostication varies, but the general opinion is that the Clemson product will be better in year two. Gil Brandt of NFL Network believes he will break out in his sophomore campaign. Maurice Moton of Bleacher Report thinks eight sacks is plausible.
We are nowadays used to seeing immediate results, but things don’t always work that way. The Raiders surely don’t foresee Ferrell turning into a Pro Bowler in year two. Rather, they must expect tangible progress and an spike in production. It’s just too early to give up on him and the 2020 season should get him another year to reach his niche.
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Top Photo: D. Ross Cameron/Associated Press