The time is now for Clelin Ferrel
It is never easy to replace an all-pro. When the Raiders drafted Clelin Ferrel in the 2019 NFL Draft he was asked to do just that. Ferell along with his other class of first rounders Josh Jacobs and Jonathan Abram were looked upon to be cornerstones for the organization. In their first two years they have shown promise, but there is still more they need to do.
Entering year three, Raiders will have to make decisions on whether to give the fifth-year option to all three players or let them hit free agency after their fourth season. For Ferrell, while his sack totals aren’t anything to brag about, he is a solid player who has gotten better against the run in each of the last two seasons.
With the addition of Gus Bradley and Yannick Ngakoue Raiders are hoping that Ferrell will make a leap as a pass rusher. "Ferrell, he's a good player," Gruden told reporters earlier in training camp. "He's unique because he can play right end, he can play left end, he's a good run defender. I think his best pass rush might be inside and you saw that against the Jets when we allowed him to do that last year.”
Ferrell’s ability to play defensive end and defensive tackle, and move all across the defensive line makes him kinda a Swiss Army Knife. Ferrell has the potential to have the best season of his career under new defensive coordinator Gus Bradley. Also, having a veteran presence of Yannick Ngakoue doesn’t hurt. When Ngakoue originally signed with Raiders he warned Ferrell he’d push him into being the player he was always meant to be.
“Yannick’s mindset and knowledge has been really helpful.” Ferrell told reporters Thursday. “He has had a good amount of success in this league. He's kind of wise, he knows how to do different things such as where to place your hands and hand movement just your angles so it's been really dope having him.”
In a recent article by Pro Football Focus, they ranked the top-32 edge defenders in the NFL heading into the 2021 season. Ferrell did appear on the list at No. 32 so the league has noticed his potential. Along with Ferrell his two teammates Maxx Crosby and Ngakowe were also on the list. For the Raiders they have the talent along the d-line, it's just putting it all together and maximizing on it.