When you get drafted as the fourth overall picks, there are bound to be expectations that you’re a productive player from Week 1. That wasn’t the case for Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Clelin Ferrell. It was considered a big reach when the team took him so early in 2019 and his numbers didn’t inspire much confidence. While many are too quick to handout the bust label to players after bad rookie years, Ferrell has plenty of time to prove that the Raiders made the right call by drafting him so early.
According to Ferrell’s personal defensive line coach Mark Hall, the defensive end is ready to take things to the next level in 2020.
“He’s lean and mean and running pretty good,” Hall said, per Vic Tafur of The Athletic. “We had a really good offseason and I know he can’t wait to get to Las Vegas and put that product on the field.”
Ferrell Isn’t Losing Speed
Naturally, when you add weight, it’s easy to lose speed. Hall revealed that Ferrell put on at least 13 pounds of muscle this offseason. However, he believes the defensive end should only benefit.
“We made sure he didn’t lose any speed with the weight gain,” Hall said. “And he is using his hips more — that’s something he didn’t use a lot last year. He is better able to attack angles now. He understands the angles better now.”
Understanding angles is one of the most important parts of being a pass rusher. What makes Khalil Mack so great that he knows angles. If Ferrell can figure out that part of his game, he could take a major step in year two. Hall believes Ferrell is a smarter player now.
“You can’t just go into the game and do what you want to do, you have to set everything up based on what they give you and have a plan for how you want to attack them,” Hall said. “His defensive line IQ has definitely gone up.”
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Additional Things Ferrell Has Been Working On
Ferrell said earlier in the offseason that people wouldn’t even be able to recognize him this season. Based on what Hall is saying, it sounds like there’s a good shot he was telling the truth. It sounds like Ferrell has been trying to get better at every aspect.
“Last year was more of an introduction to Cle,” Hall said. “Then last season, I noticed some deficiencies in Cle’s game and the Raiders played him inside some, too. So he needed to put on some more pounds, especially in his lower body, and we polished up his pass-rush game.
“We also wanted to give him a better understanding of what offensive linemen are presenting to him, and how to finish against them. Clean his game up … speed, agility, movement.”
Hall even got into the specifics of what he’s been having Ferrell work on.
“His first step was the No. 1 thing I wanted to work on,” Hall said. “How to use his power more, his approach to the offensive linemen and also his top-of-the-rush finish.”
Since Mike Mayock has taken over as the Raiders’ general manager, the team has focused on adding a lot of high character players. Times like these are why they have done that as Ferrell is proving his amazing work ethic after have a lackluster season.
“His work ethic is unmatched,” Hall said. “It’s crazy. I am working with all three of the Clemson guys, and it’s so obvious why they won national championships. Their willingness to learn and work and practice is crazy. We’re out here four hours at a time in this Miami heat, which is no joke, and I have to tell Cle to stop.”