The Las Vegas Raiders have had their fair share of draft duds in recent seasons. In fact, there have been more than enough since Jon Gruden took over as the head coach in 2018, but who is the worst among them? There are plenty of picks that could have a strong case but one stands out.
Gary Davenport recently wrote about the worst draft picks in the last three years. To nobody’s surprise, Raiders defensive end Clelin Ferrell showed up. The fourth overall pick in 2019’s selection meeting, the Clemson product has failed to have a meaningful impact for the Silver and Black over the last two years. He’s posted solid Pro Football Focus grades and is good against the run. Nevertheless, teams don’t spend a top 5 pick on a solid run-defender.
PFF ranked Ferrell as the 16th best EDGE defender in 2020. On the other hand, ‘Cle’ posted 27 total tackles, 30 pressures, three passes defensed, two sacks, and two forced fumbles last season. That kind of production hardly screams top 16 in the NFL. It’s true that sacks aren’t the only way to measure a player’s success, but that doesn’t take away their importance. In 2020, there were 160 players with more sacks than him, per Pro Football Reference, so his place as one of the best EDGE defenders is questionable.
On the bright side, defensive coordinator Paul Guenther is no longer with the team. The plan is for Gus Bradley to put the Raiders’ defensive players in a position to succeed. Ferrell still has a chance to turn things around but he’s running out of time, especially with defensive end Yannick Ngakoue on the roster.
Was Ferrell the Raiders’ worst draft pick of the last three years though?
There is no standardized way to select the Raiders’ worst picks in recent years. Tanner Muse, a 2020 third-round selection didn’t play a down last year. Then, there’s safety Johnathan Abram, who was a liability in coverage last year. Again, PFF grades aren’t the holy grail of a player’s evaluation but the Mississippi State product was ranked last among qualifying safeties in 2020.
If you talk about expectations based on his draft slot, Ferrell is the worst pick. However, the Raiders haven’t been very good at drafting players in recent seasons, so the defensive end could make room for someone else. He still has time to turn things around but his performance hasn’t been encouraging until now. If he continues to underperform, he will become the Raiders’ unquestionable worst draft pick of the last three years. It’s up to him to change the narrative.
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