The Las Vegas Raiders had three first-round picks in the 2019 NFL Draft and it was supposed to be a class that would help build the team. Four years later and running back Josh Jacobs is the only first-rounder from the class in-line to be on the team next season. Johnathan Abram was cut during the 2022 season and No. 4 overall pick Clelin Ferrell is on the move.
The defensive end is signing a one-year contract with the San Francisco 49ers, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Ferrell never quite lived up to his status as a top-five draft pick. The Raiders turned down his fifth-year option heading into last season and it was clear he didn’t have a long-term future in Las Vegas. However, he never put his head down despite his status as a draft bust. He worked hard and even took some snaps away from Chandler Jones last season. He’s never been much of a pass rusher and has just 10.0 sacks in four seasons. He’s always been better as a run defender. The 49ers have plenty of pass rushers so there won’t be much pressure on him to make big plays.
Fresh Start Could Be Good for Ferrell
Ferrell will always have to carry a draft bust label but it’s not necessarily his fault. Nobody projected him to be a top-10 pick in the 2019 draft. He was excepted to be a mid to late first-round pick. The Raiders didn’t do him any favors by taking him with the No. 4 pick. He was a very good college player at Clemson but lacks the athletic traits that most top-five picks have. He was never going to be able to live up to his draft status in Las Vegas.
A fresh start could be a very good thing for Ferrell. He’ll no longer have to face the pressure of playing for a team that used such a valuable draft pick on him. The 49ers have one of the best defenses in the NFL and there will be virtually no pressure for Ferrell to perform. San Francisco has stars all over the defense and they will be the ones facing the pressure. It’ll be interesting to see how Ferrell performs now that he’s away from the Raiders.
Arden Key Lands Big Contract
Speaking of Raiders draft picks who improved their play after leaving the team, Arden Key just scored a big payday. The former third-round pick signed a three-year contract worth $21 million with the Tennessee Titans, per Mike Garafolo of NFL Network.
Key spent three seasons with the Raiders but was never able to do much. He had 3.0 sacks in those three seasons. Similar to Ferrell, he eventually moved on to the 49ers and had his best season with 6.5 sacks. He was with the Jacksonville Jaguars last season and notched 4.5 sacks. Those aren’t elite numbers but he’s proving to be a solid situational pass rusher. The Titans are banking on him improving further with an expanded role. Ferrell will never be a superstar pass rusher like the Raiders hoped he would be but he could reach a similar level that Key has. He’ll just need to put up some numbers with the 49ers if he wants to get a big contract.