Pegged to be a surprise at No. 4, the Raiders didn’t disappoint. Just look at that cat’s disgusted face from ESPN’s broadcast of the NFL Draft when Clelin Ferrell’s name was announced.
This was truly a Mike Mayock draft. As much as no one believed Raiders coach Jon Gruden when he said Mayock would be making selections, proof is in the pudding, no?
The selections are safe, high character and productive collegiate football players.
If you’re not a film junkie and don’t seek anything outside of media and draft buzz, it’s easy to see why Ferrell doesn’t tickle your fancy. But, spend adequate time watching the game tape and you’ll see the second most complete defensive end prospect in the draft behind Ohio State’s Nick Bosa.
Violent, strong, aggressive, and disciplined Ferrell is the ideal strong side defensive end for Jon Gruden lieutenant Paul Guenther.
The defensive coordinator requires the strong side base end in his 4-3 scheme to be a stout edge setter with enough juice to drop the quarterback. That’s Ferrell to a T. You don’t rack up 166 tackles, 50.5 stops for loss, 27 sacks in four season at Clemson by accident.
Was it a reach at No. 4? Perhaps. Most picks are reaches — until prospects produce at the NFL level.
Like Ferrell, picks at 24 and 27 — Alabama running back Josh Jacobs and Mississippi State safety Johnathan Abram — were productive collegians.
Jacobs is the all-around tailback that is a necessity in Gruden’s offense. He is a back that can not only carry the rock, but catch out of the backfield. Plus. he will protect the quarterback when charged with pass protection. While he didn’t see heavy usage in the Crimson Tide’s offense, Jacobs finished with 1,491 yards on 251 carries, 571 yards. In addition, he tallied 48 receptions and 21 combined touchdowns.
Abram is a heat-seeking missile of a downhill defender that’s in the same mold as veteran Karl Joseph. Violent, but not dirty, Abram’s three-year collegiate career (at Georgia and Mississippi State) reads: 195 tackles, 15.5 stops for loss, five sacks, two interceptions and two three forced fumbles.