When the Oakland Raiders decided to draft Clelin Ferrell with the fourth overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, many heads turned thanks to the fact that Josh Allen was still on the board. Ferrell was a very productive pass rusher in college, but he didn’t show the same kind of potential that Allen did. Through 13 games in both of their NFL careers, the Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end certainly has the edge.
If Ferrell can’t close the distance between the two men, Jon Gruden is going be questioned for quite a while as to why he made the pick that he did. With a matchup with the Jaguars coming up, Gruden has finally addressed the decision.
“He really was (close). He was a big part of our thought process there,” Gruden said about Allen via Sports Illustrated.
It seems like the decision came down to who was the better scheme fit.
“We are a 4-3 defensive team and we really had no pure defensive ends on our team. And we wanted to take Josh because of his obvious pass rushing ability, but we needed a six-technique — a guy that could play on first down. Not that Josh can’t, but we needed what we felt was a pure 4-3 defensive end.
“We wish we could have taken Josh and Clelin honestly. It was a tough decision, and I know Jacksonville has a good young player there that is a great kid too,” Gruden said.
Ferrell vs. Allen: By the Numbers
Hindsight is always 20/20 and it’s safe to assume the Raiders may have gone a different route if they redid the Ferrell pick in the draft. Allen has played one more game than Ferrell and his numbers are significantly better. On the season, he has nine sacks, 36 tackles and 18 quarterback hits. Ferrell has 3.5 sacks, 31 tackles and seven quarterbacks hits.
Allen also holds a better grade on Pro Football Focus at 65.8 while Ferrell sits at 57.0. Both players are still very young. Ferrell has plenty of time to catchup up to Allen. He doesn’t have the luxury of playing next to guys like Calais Campbel and Yannick Ngakoue. It’s going to take a couple of years to know who got the better player between the Jaguars and Raiders.
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Maxx Crosby, Clelin Ferrell or Josh Allen
Now, if the Raiders selected Maxx Crosby at number four over Josh Allen, the team probably wouldn’t have much to complain about. Crosby’s emergence has more than made up for Ferrell’s lack of impact. The fourth-round pick didn’t play much in the first four weeks of the season, but since Week 5, he has 7.5 sacks with 12 quarterback hits. Crosby also has more tackles for loss than the other two at 13.
If Oakland had Crosby and Allen on both sides of the defensive line, they could have one of the scariest young duos in the NFL. Regardless, the team took Ferrell, so they need to develop him. He’ll probably never be the dominant pass rusher that Crosby or Allen can turn into, but he could be a solid all-around defensive end.