Back in 2019, the Las Vegas Raiders made defensive end Clelin Ferrell the fourth overall pick in the players’ selection process. Since then, the Clemson product has been the target of constant scrutiny. During Week 9 against the Los Angeles Chargers, he showed signs of progress regarding their criticism surrounding him.
Clelin Ferrell has been steadily improving
Ferrell doesn’t frequently show up in Raiders’ highlights or articles. That isn’t a mistake, his low sack numbers and at times inconsistent play are the reasons behind the exclusion. The contest against the ‘Bolts’ was different though. The defensive end shined and displayed pass-rushing prowess in Week 9.
Ferrell has thrived as a run stopper, his criticisms come from his lack of pressure on the quarterback. This season, he has registered zero sacks and has had a hard time coming off the edge in short passing plays. Against the Chargers, Ferrell logged three total tackles, one of them for a loss. While those aren’t staggering numbers, he finally found some success against quarterback Justin Herbert and the Chargers offensive line.
The Raiders defensive line registered two total sacks against the Chargers, one from defensive end Maxx “Saxx” Crosby and the other by defensive end Carl Nassib. Moreover, the unit had a staggering seven quarterback hits, four of which came from ’96’. In 2019, Ferrell hit the quarterback eight times total. This season, he has already recorded six. While Ferrell had 4.5 sacks in 2019 and has none so far this season, his production is going up and the sacks will eventually come if he continues his current pace.
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The Raiders are getting pressures out of their defensive line
While sacks are the popular stat, pressures are also a significant piece of the puzzle. Crosby has registered 16 pressures this season while Ferrell has mustered 22. The former Tigers defensive end is quietly becoming a leader on the defensive line even if the headlines don’t showcase that fact.
The Raiders will take on the Denver Broncos in Week 10. They have to make quarterback Drew Lock uncomfortable if they want to improve to 6-3. Ferrell and the rest of the Raiders defensive line will play a key role. Denver’s less-than-stellar offensive line should help them accomplish that goal. Don’t be surprised if we see Ferrell earn his first sack of the year.
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Top Photo: Ashley Landis/Associated Press