Though the Las Vegas Raiders are only two years removed from using a top-five draft pick to select defensive end Clelin Ferrell, they aren’t too concerned with giving him more snaps just because of his draft status. He was a healthy scratch in Week 1 against the Baltimore Ravens, which is not what you want to see from such a highly drafted player. Head coach Jon Gruden blamed back issues for him being inactive but it seems that he would’ve been able to play if the Raiders wanted him to.
With Yannick Ngakoue tweaking his hamstring, it’s hard to imagine that Ferrell sits out against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday. Defensive coordinator Gus Bradley had a chance to talk about the defensive end sitting out Week 1 but has been impressed with how he’s responded.
“He’s having a good week of practice this week,” Bradley told reporters Thursday. “I think for us, just monitoring that and deciding at that point, maybe the need’s what we see. We felt like [Baltimore] was a team that could really just line up and pound us last week. So that’s on a week-to-week basis. But he’s practicing really well and he practiced well today.”
Ferrell hasn’t lived up to his draft status but he’s a solid player. There’s no reason he should be sitting out a lot of games this season if he’s healthy.
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Bradley Praises Ferrell for Being ‘Great Teammate’
A lot of players in Ferrell’s position would not be happy with how the Raiders treated him in Week 1. Fortunately, he’s taking the situation in stride. Bradley detailed how Ferrell acted during the game despite being inactive.
“He was on the sideline probably being one of the biggest cheerleaders. He was outstanding. And I talked to him about that — he was fantastic,” Bradley said. “That’s tough, to go through what he did. But his attitude, the way he handled it — great teammate, outstanding. Can’t say enough about him. So hopefully, everything works out this week. We’re going to need a good dose of him, hopefully, this week.”
Keeping a positive attitude will certainly help get Ferrell back on the field. He can bring help to the Raiders defense, especially in the run game.
Bradley Clearly Not Attached to Draftees From Before He Was Hired
With Ferrell inactive in Week 1 and Damon Arnette only playing one snap on defense, Bradley is clearly not attached to any defenders that were drafted before he was hired by the team. The Raiders have allowed him to fill the defense with players that he’s coached in the past and he trusts them more than what the team had. Now, the Ravens presented a unique challenge in Week 1 so it’s hard to know exactly how the defensive roster will shape up throughout the season.
Perhaps there are plans for Ferrell and Arnette to have roles but they weren’t right for the Baltimore game. The two do have talent and the Raiders would prefer it if the former first-round picks developed into impact players.