The Las Vegas Raiders had plenty of choices with the fourth overall selection in the 2019 NFL Draft. They knew they needed to add a playmaker on defense, and could’ve taken defensive end Josh Allen or linebacker Devin White. Instead, they opted for Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell.
What have the Raiders have gotten from Clelin Ferrell?
Tashan Reed of The Athletic recently broke down Ferrell’s performance in the last two seasons. His assessment is spot on when he says ‘Cle’ is a ‘good player but far from a prolific one. After all, he has logged just 65 total tackles (11 for a loss), 6.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles in his two-year career. Meanwhile, Devin White had 140 total tackles (15 for a loss), nine sacks, and one forced fumble in 2020 alone.
White plays linebacker while Ferrell is a defensive end. However, the contrasting impact between the two is noticeable and the former has been a superior player so far in his young career. Keep in mind that the Raiders had a shot at drafting him but took Ferrell instead. If you are into apple-to-apple comparisons, Allen dealt with injuries in 2020 but he made the Pro Bowl the season before.
What does the future hold for Clelin Ferrell?
Reed’s most interesting quote comes later in the article, ‘it’s unfair to expect Ferrell to suddenly become a transformative player simply because of where he was drafted’. It’s unlikely ’94’ will turn into All-Pro at this point of his career and that’s fine. He didn’t ask the Raiders to draft him at number four. They were the ones that over drafted a solid player with a top-five pick.
The Raiders need to comes to terms with the fact Ferrell isn’t a top-notch defensive end. He can be part of their defensive line rotation but they can’t expect him to become a prolific pass rusher. They need to add another defensive end this offseason.
This Las Vegas team probably won’t be able to sign an impact defensive end in the open market. They’re currently in the red and need and will probably prioritize signing their own free agents. However, they could use the 17th overall selection in 2021’s draft on someone like Jaelen Phillips or Gregory Rosseau. They could also wait and target Cameron Sample in the middle rounds of the selection meeting.
Regardless of where or who, the Raiders need to bring upgrade their defensive end room. Ferrell isn’t the player the Silver and Black thought he was. Don’t blame him though, this one was on the Raiders.
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Top Photo: Ashley Landis/Associated Press