Raiders Pushed to Trade Former 1st-Round Pick to Patriots to ‘Break Out’

josh mcdaniels

Getty Las Vegas Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels.

The Las Vegas Raiders‘ pass rush was a disaster after they traded Khalil Mack before the start of the 2018 season. To fix the issue, the team drafted Clelin Ferrell with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. The former Clemson standout was a productive pass rusher in college and was thought to have a high floor but a low ceiling.

After three years in the league, a different pass rusher from the 2019 draft class has leaped over Ferrell. Fourth-round pick Maxx Crosby has 25.0 sacks in three seasons while Ferrell only has 8.0. Crosby was rewarded with a massive contract extension in the offseason but Ferrell had his fifth-year option declined.

The Raiders also signed Chandler Jones this offseason so Ferrell’s role on the defense is unclear. Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report believes that the defensive end needs to be traded so that he can “break out”:

Clelin Ferrell, the fourth overall pick in the 2019 draft, has largely been a bust for the Las Vegas Raiders. The old front office gambled on the former Clemson standout, and the Raiders have gotten little in return.

Ferrell had 4.5 sacks as a rookie but has logged only 3.5 since. He had 1.5 sacks last season to go with a mere 10 quarterback pressures.

There’s a new regime in Vegas, though, and new defensive coordinator Patrick Graham should offer Ferrell some hope. The problem is that the Raiders also acquired pass-rusher Chandler Jones in free agency.

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Patriots the Best Fit for Ferrell?

A fresh start might be what Ferrell needs. He’s got great character and does work hard. For whatever reason, it just hasn’t translated to success on the field with the Raiders. Knox believes that the New England Patriots are the team that Ferrell should go to so that he can turn his career around:

While the Raiders may have to change Ferrell’s position to get him on the field, the New England Patriots could use him on the edge.

New England doesn’t have a clear-cut complement to linebacker Matt Judon, who accounted for 12.5 of the team’s 36 sacks in 2021. Ferrell would be a bit of a project, but Patriots coach Bill Belichick has long been keen on picking up other teams’ castoffs—Randy Moss, LeGarrette Blount and Danny Shelton are just a few examples.

With a potential shot at a significant role—and in a defense that ranked fourth overall and second in points allowed last season—Ferrell could finally have a chance to flourish. All it might take is for new head coach Josh McDaniels to place a call to his old team.

Ferrell Could Still Be Useful for Raiders

While the Patriots could be a good landing spot for Ferrell, the Raiders might not want to give up on him yet. New defensive coordinator Patrick Graham runs a similar defense to what New England does. If anybody can figure out how to use him, it would be Graham.

Crosby and Jones are dominant pass rushers and might be the best duo in the NFL. However, neither is particularly great against the run. When Ferrell has gotten consistent snaps, he’s been a solid run defender. He could be useful in running situations and as a depth pass rusher.

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