Through the early months of Dave Ziegler being the general manager of the Las Vegas Raiders, he’s shown a strong willingness to make trades. He’s dealt for players like Davante Adams and Rock Ya-Sin while sending away players like Yannick Ngakoue and Bryan Edwards. He’s clearly open to making the right trades when they are presented.
Recently, Ziegler decided to decline the fifth-year options for all three 2019 first-round picks, including No. 4 overall pick Clelin Ferrell. The former Clemson defensive end hasn’t had notable success since entering the league. He was highly touted coming out of college, works hard and is coachable. Perhaps a change of scenery is what he needs to find success. Gary Davenport of Bleacher Report believes that Ferrell should request a trade soon and get on another roster before the season starts:
With that said, it’s hard to imagine Ferrell doing any more for the Raiders in 2022 than he did the past three seasons. He’s all but buried on the depth chart, and with new defensive coordinator Patrick Graham set to utilize more three-man fronts, Ferrell is just flat-out a bad fit. He’s not athletic enough to play rush linebacker and not big enough to hold the point of attack as a five-technique end.
Ferrell badly needs a change of scenery, and there are some 4-3 defenses with teams like the Philadelphia Eagles, Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans that might be willing to throw a late pick into a dice roll on Ferrell’s potential.
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Ferrell Deserves a Chance Under Patrick Graham
Ferrell has disappointed thus far in his career but all of his struggles aren’t entirely on him. He’s about to play for his third defensive coordinator in four seasons. Luckily, new defensive coordinator Patrick Graham could be the one to get Ferrell to improve his play. The Raiders are likely to run a 3-4 base defense, which means Chandler Jones and Maxx Crosby will see snaps at outside linebacker.
That will give Ferrell the chance to see more snaps at defensive end. Graham is known as a coach who can get the best out of his players. He’s entering a make-or-break season so if there’s any untapped potential, Graham will find it this season.
Ferrell Named as Breakout Candidate
Many are likely ready to give up on the idea that Ferrell can be a productive NFL player but it’s still too early. He was very good at Clemson and he’s never had an issue with work ethic. His upside has always been limited but that doesn’t mean he can’t be better than what he has been. In fact, Ian Wharton of Bleacher Report listed Ferrell as a breakout candidate in 2022:
A new coaching staff can go a long way. New head coach Josh McDaniels has made it a point to say that Ferrell has a “clean slate.” It’ll also help if new defensive coordinator Patrick Graham uses Ferrell as more than a base defensive end like Gus Bradley did.
Ferrell is less of a bendy, athletic edge and more of a run-defending undersized tackle or 3-4 end. He’s strong at the point of attack and quite good at winning with leverage. His playstyle won’t produce more than a handful of sacks a year, but he can be an early-down run stopper with some pass-rush upside in a platoon.