Since the Las Vegas Raiders drafted Clelin Ferrell with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, he’s been the subject of a lot of criticism due to the fact that he was a perceived reach. He’s definitely shown some great flashes. During his rookie season, he had an excellent 2.5 sack game against the Los Angeles Chargers.
Last season, he terrorized Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs during their first matchup. The Raiders don’t win that game if Ferrell isn’t dominant. In fact, he didn’t play in the second matchup and the team lost. However, the flashes haven’t come often over his first two seasons. He only has a combined 6.5 sacks in his career so far. That’s simply not good enough for a top-five draft pick. Brad Gagnon of Bleacher Report believes the Raiders should already try to cut their losses:
They’re paying big bucks to the veteran Ngakoue, while Crosby is coming off 17 sacks in his first two NFL seasons. Ferrell, meanwhile, has just 6.5 sacks in 26 career starts. It’s time to stop letting him start, and with Carl Nassib and rookie Day 2 selection Malcolm Koonce also on the roster, it might simply be time to move on.
The question is whether anyone will pay for him, but there’s nothing unusual about an NFL general manager or coach believing they can fix a talented draft bust and this could represent an intriguing redemption project.
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Trading Ferrell Now Would Be a Mistake
As Gagnon pointed out, Ferrell’s trade value is likely very low. It makes no sense to trade the former No. 4 overall pick prior to his third season for pennies on the daughter. Ferrell has great character and won’t be causing any off-the-field issues. He’s also an incredibly hard worker. He’s exactly the type of player the Raiders want.
Now, despite him checking a lot of boxes off the field, he does need to play better on it. With Yannick Ngakoue joining the team, the Raiders have a legit star pass rusher. Maxx Crosby has outperformed Ferrell as a pass rusher over the last two seasons so he’ll likely be on the field in most passing situations. However, this could be great for Ferrell. Having Ngakoue on the defensive line will take a lot of focus off him. That could open the door for many more sack opportunities. The Raiders need to give Ferrell one more season before they give up on him.
Ferrell Recently Discussed How He Can Improve
Work ethic is not something that has been an issue for Ferrell. He’s willing to do what he can to be great, it just hasn’t translated to the field quite yet. He believes he knows what he needs to do to step up in 2021.
“I think it’s me staying disciplined and staying true to myself and not trying to be outside of myself,” Ferrell said recently, via Raiders.com.
“Like, I know who I am as a player and the No. 1 thing is, I know it’s going to pay off. So, just staying disciplined and being myself every single day.
“Being the same person every single day regardless of what anybody got to say, regardless of the circumstances — just come in and work hard and try to get this team to a Super Bowl.”
Ferrell has the tool to be a very good NFL player. Though his numbers aren’t great, he’s still been solid for the Raiders. He can still hit another level as a pass rusher but makes a difference in the run game.