Las Vegas Raiders: One question for each defensive position in 2021
Defensive End: What’s next for Clelin Ferrell?
Many questioned Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock after they decided to take Clelin Ferrell with the fourth overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, and so far, some of those criticisms have been right. Ferrell hasn’t played at the level one would expect from a fourth overall pick. That’s not to say he’s been bad or a failure, on the contrary, Ferrell has quietly been very good for the team. Just not as a flashy pass rusher.
Where Ferrell tends to make the largest impact is as a run stopper. Ferrell does a great job of picking up on a play and setting the edge. He uses his reach to get around offensive tackles and tight ends and keep the running back from pushing up the field. This has made Ferrell a valuable part of the defense even though he struggles to reach the quarterback.
If he can find a way to match his pass rush ability to his ability to stop the run, then Ferrell could be a defensive end worth the fourth overall pick.
Until he gets to that point, Ferrell will likely play behind Maxx Crosby and recent signing Yannick Ngokoue. He likely will get a solid amount of playing time in, rotating in for both Crosby and Ngokoue, but he won’t be labeled as the starter. Also, because of his ability to stop the run, don’t be surprised if you see Ferrell playing on the inside now and again.
Answer: He won’t start, but he’ll get a ton of playing time.