This is the first in an ongoing series on 2019 NFL Draft prospects by Chris Reed. He will evaluate projected first-round picks and their fit for the Raiders.
Name: Clelin Ferrell
Pros: Exceptional first step and get off, uses hands well, plays to his size utilizing length to keep himself “clean”, shows good ability to “get small” and turn corner despite 6-foot-5 frame, possesses a deep pass rush “toolbox”, great ball awareness when attacking quarterbacks, stout at point of attack, consistently maintains containment assignments, heady player from a well-coached defense
Cons: Questionable ankle and hip flexion may limit his pass rush ability, stagnates when an initial move is unsuccessful, needs to develop counter moves
Why he would fit the Raiders: Ferrell is currently projected as the #2 EDGE defender which is currently the biggest need on the roster. He is stout and will not be moved often in the run game which would help this team which ranked 30th against the run. Ferrell racked up 166 tackles in his 44 games at Clemson with an eye-opening 50.5 of them being tackles for loss. His presence should also help force teams to throw more after the team ranked 30th in rushing attempts faced. He may increase the teams pass rush ability simply by giving them more opportunities to do so.
He will never have elite athleticism but makes up for it in his burst and get off at the snap. He recorded 27 sacks in his collegiate career proving he can get to the quarterback. He has received quality coaching which shows up in his hand fighting. He rarely gets beaten to the punch and “gets small” very well given his size. He also does a great job of attacking the ball when he gets to the quarterback which should help a defense that ranked dead last in forced fumbles last season. Ferrell is a perfect fit for defensive coordinator Paul Guenther’s system.
Why he wouldn’t fit the Raiders: If the team is adamant about adding a pure pass rusher, Ferrell would not be their first choice. He will never be a pure speed rusher. They may also look at players who they rank higher considering they would most likely have to use their 4th overall pick to secure Ferrell. They may want to go with a positional talent that they have ranked higher. The team gave up 52 sacks last season and could decide they want to take their first-ranked offensive tackle over a second-ranked EDGE for example. While he may fit the team, his value may not match up to the 4th overall selection in the team’s eyes.