Perhaps the most overlooked addition of the Las Vegas Raiders‘ offseason has been defensive coordinator Patrick Graham. The hiring of head coach Josh McDaniels and trade for Davante Adams has soaked up much of the spotlight but Graham is one of the most important pieces of the puzzle. The former New York Giants defensive coordinator is widely considered one of the best, young defensive minds in the NFL and even got a look from the Minnesota Vikings about possibly being their head coach.
The Raiders have had trouble figuring out how to use defensive Clelin Ferrell. The former No. 4 overall draft pick just recently had his fifth-year option declined so he’s entering the final year of his rookie contract. Graham is known for adapting his scheme to help his players. One of Ferrell’s former teammates at Clemson Dexter Lawrence played under Graham over the last two seasons with the Giants. Ferrell had a chance to reveal what Lawrence has told him about the coach.
“I remember when I came out for the draft, it was me, Dex, Christian [Wilkins], we had this thing where all of us were like high praise coming out Clemson, and Patrick Graham had came to Clemson the day before our pro day, and he had interviewed all of us and I remember just his energy was way different,” Ferrell told Heavy.com at an April 28 event at Allegiant Stadium hosted by USAA and the NFL. “I was just like, ‘this dude is about the details.’ And that always stuck with me. And even to this day now, talking to Dex, he tell me all the time like, ‘listen, he gonna be on you but he wants the best for you,’ so I understand that and coach Graham has been great. It’s been real good getting on the field with him so far.”
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Ferrell Credits Parents for Being Able to Keep Composure
Ferrell’s first few years in the NFL have been a bit rocky. He’s had some high moments but he’s about to have his third defensive coordinator in three years with the Raiders. Despite the turmoil and struggles on the field, Ferrell has been able to stay composed. Both of his parents served in the military and he credits them for his composure.
“When danger is involved, the type of composure to still be calm, and have a process of elimination to complete your mission, to complete your task,” Ferrell said.
Ferrell was one of the guests during a Salute to Service event the NFL and Allegiant Stadium hosted for Nellis Air Force Base and Creech Air Force Base military members, alongside Raiders teammate Darren Waller in a partnership with USAA.
Former GM Has High Praise for Graham
If anybody can unlock Ferrell’s full potential, it could be Graham. Though the Giants’ defense didn’t put up elite numbers last season, he now gets some great pieces to work with. Recently, former NFL general manager Randy Mueller stated some high praise for the defensive coordinator.
“Patrick Graham is good. … If he can get enough out of what they have on defense on paper, I think the Raiders could be the team to take the next step,” Mueller said.
The Raiders have a lot of talent on defense and it will be up to Graham to figure out the best way to use it.