The Oakland Raiders got an edge rusher early in the first round, and while it was a bit of a surprise, Clelin Ferrell can certainly help this defense.
The Oakland Raiders finally decided to address their need for a pass rusher, but it was not with the player many expect. After taking various risks in the 2018 draft, the Raiders went with the high floor player in Clemson’s defensive end Clelin Ferrell.
The reigning ACC defensive player comes into the NFL with about as good a resume as you can ask for. He finished college with 27 sacks and 50.5 tackles for loss while also being a key piece on two Clemson national championship teams. He is a leader that will bring high character and an all-around game Paul Guenther will appreciate.
Why the pick doesn’t make sense
Now all the allocates I listed are great, and you can’t take that away from Ferrell, but picking him at #4 is a considerable reach in my opinion. There are athletic question marks the Ferrell was unable to answer in terms of his ability to bend and flatten around tackle which is something he didn’t really seem to possess in college. He tested average in the 3-cone and 20 yards shuttle which isn’t bad, but it just doesn’t scream top 5 pick to me.
He is not going to be bigger and stronger than every player he faces in the NFL, and that worries me in terms of taking him this high. I feel later in the first round would have been perfect for him and complimenting a guy like Kentucky’s Josh Allen.
How he helps the team
Now just because I don’t agree with where he is being taken doesn’t mean Ferrell isn’t a very good player. Ferrell probably has the highest floor after Nick Bosa in this entire defensive end class. He is a smart player in both the run and pass game which will definitely help make up for Arden Key who struggled against the run last season.
Great hand usage and ability to process plays quickly are what make him a day one starter. Once again it is just hard to justify taking him at the so early given his lack of upside.