Is DE Clelin Ferrell Raiders’ Biggest Draft Mistake Of Last 3 Years?

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.

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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.

You May Also Like: Who Is Las Vegas Raiders’ Best Draft Pick of Last Decade?

Top Photo: Cary Edmondson/USA Today Sports

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7 thoughts on “Is DE Clelin Ferrell Raiders’ Biggest Draft Mistake Of Last 3 Years?”

  1. danny vallejo

    I’ll take Pro Football Focus’ metrics over this writers obsession with the sack. He was rated 16th edge defender in the entire league. With 32 teams there would be 64 starting edge defenders. That means that Ferrell’s ranking is pretty good. Also, many times last two years Ferrell played inside as a defensive tackle.

  2. I’d take PJ Hall 2nd Rd and Bowden Jr 2rd over Ferrell. If Raiders has traded down and got Cle in mid first people would have no problem with the pick. The biggest thing with draft picks is staying on the field. Don’t need a superstar at every position. So many draft picks bust, getting a safe high caliber player is not a bad thing. And I do thing Cle is high caliber just not superstar, and that’s okay.

  3. The constant criticism of CF based on where he was drafted is absolutely ridiculous. The criticism should be towards Gruden and Mayock, not CF. CF has performed and produced very well for a 17 to 28 pick in the1st round, just as he was projected by everyone except the clowns picking for the Raiders. Quit blaming this kid because the Raiders picked him too high, what, he was suddenly going to have 4th pick talent simply because the Raiders decided to pick him there? Or, what, was he supposed to say “Never mind, don’t pick me 4th, I’ll wait until the latter picks in the 1st Round?” Unbelievable how people keep making it about CF and not Gruden and Mayock..

  4. The right way to judge is by whether their option gets picked up for a fifth year (for 1st rounders) and the size of their second contract (adjusted for draft position). Given where he is now, CF will get picked up for a fifth year and will sign a very nice second contract. Abram, in contrast, will be out of football unless he dramatically turns it around this year.

  5. You know, when this site first started, I had hopes that it would be something different. Instead, it’s the same crap that BR puts up. Maybe it’s just that all sports writers at some point forget how to understand the sport on which they are reporting.

    1. Life’s full of disappointments, bud. We can’t please everyone but thanks for the support and cheers to you and yours 🍻

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