When the Raiders selected Clelin Ferrell, a wave of opinion swept through media and the fanbase. With bigger goals ahead, Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock set their plans in motion. Below, FPC writers Ray Aspuria and Terrance Biggs discuss the newest pass rush centerpiece.
What was your first reaction to the Ferrell pick and did your opinion change?
“Paulie G got his dude.” was my first reaction. The Raiders need at defensive end/edge rusher was so deep the team invested a trio of draft picks into the position this weekend. And by selecting Ferrell, the Raiders got the second most complete defensive end prospect in the draft.
Ferrell can get after the passer, set the edge, and avalanche the run. In addition, he has the prototypical height, weight, speed, arm length to become the strong side defensive end in Guenther’s scheme.
I would have much more dire concern if the Raiders went with flashier pass rushers. Yes, while sacks are sexy, what is not attractive is seeing those defensive ends get tossed out of the club trying to defend the run. A team isn’t going to throw the ball if they can run it down your throat. Moreover, in Ferrell, the Raiders get a stout presence on the edge that can do it all.
In all honesty, confusion floated throughout my brain. How could the Raiders pass up on other rushers. In addition, Devin White would solve so many issues at linebacker. However, after seeing the plan unfold, Ferrell’s selection made sense. With him, the Raiders seemed focused on turning over the keys to the pass rush to him. Paul Guenther now employs his type of end that his scheme screams for.
How do you think Ferrell will fare early and what is his ceiling during his rookie year?
Like 2018 draft pick Arden Key, Ferrell is going to be thrown to the wolves early because of the pathetic nature of the defensive end position pre-draft. He’s going to be given every chance to become the Alpha of the edge rushers. Unlike Key, however, Ferrell is going to come in great shape to anchor the edge.
Stat wise, expect Ferrell to get single-digit sacks, let’s say a cap of 7 or 8, as he’ll get the nuances of the game down in his rookie year. Tackle wise, he’s going to get 40+ as he is a sound run defender.
Where he’ll really take off is if the interior line gets pressure and there is someone opposite him that can make the quarterback sweat.
If Ferrell plays 12-14 games, there is no way where eight sacks is not a strong possibility. More importantly, he will sniff out the run and make solid plays. Can you remember the last time a Raiders end played the run with any semblance of urgency? Ferrell will start slow because the speed of the NFL is a scene unlike any other. As a result, he will build momentum late.