The Oakland Raiders made a polarizing decision when they selected Clelin Ferrell with the fourth overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft and it remains polarizing. He most certainly silenced some doubters with his massive 2.5 sack performance against the Los Angeles Chargers, but that doesn’t erase the lack of production he had through the first half of the season. Despite his disappointing play, Raiders defensive line coach Brenston Buckner took to the Silver and Black Tonight radio show to defend the rookie.
“We drafted Clelin Ferrell to be a football player,” said Buckner when asked about comparisons to Khalil Mack. “You know, we wanted him to be a well-rounded football player. Nobody can replace Mack. Mack is Khalil Mack. He’s a freak. Not one time have we ever sat down with Clelin and said you got to do this because Mack did this. We just want Clelin to be the best Clelin he can be day in and day out for our team and his development is coming.”
Buckner went on to talk about how sometimes it takes time for players to develop.
“Like once I said before, everybody wants this instant gratification. Football players are not microwaveable… you know, it takes some time, but I’m happy with what [Clelin] is doing. He’s learning the game. He’s learning his body. He’s not even fully developed yet.”
It was just a year ago when many thought Kolton Miller was going to be a bust due to his disastrous rookie season. Now it looks like Miller is the team’s left tackle of the future thanks to some really impressive play. If Ferrell can develop the same way that Miller did, he could turn into a very solid defender for the Raiders. No, he’s not ever going to turn into Khalil Mack, but he could be a very good player if he builds off the success of his most recent performances.
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Mike Mayock Also Defended Ferrell
Buckner isn’t the only one who has gone out of his way to defend Ferrell. Mike Mayock recently appeared on The Rich Eisen Show and defended the first player he ever drafted.
“I think [Ferrell] is who we thought he was,” Mayock said. “And he’s not flashy. He’s going to be a really good NFL player.
“I don’t think we helped him at times. We asked him to play a bunch inside and that’s hard – he’s never played inside in his life. So he kind of took one for the team because we asked him to do some things he had never done before.”
It’s looking like Ferrell is going to be more of a project, but he could develop into a consistent player. A big thing that makes Ferrell’s lack of production stick out is the fact that fellow rookie Maxx Crosby looks like he’s already further along in his development. Somebody on Twitter pointed this out to Brenston Buckner and he responded.
Just because Crosby is better now, doesn’t mean he always will be. If anything, it means that the Raiders could have two really strong, young defensive ends for years to come.