The 2019 NFL Draft was supposed to be a franchise-changing draft for the Las Vegas Raiders. The team previously traded away Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper, which gave them three first-round picks that year. While the team did find some impact players in the draft class like Josh Jacobs, Maxx Crosby and Hunter Renfrow, the team wasted two of the first-round picks.
The most questionable pick the team made was selecting Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell with the No. 4 pick. He was a first-round prospect but nobody expected him to be a top-five pick. The two players selected ahead of Ferrell were defensive linemen Nick Bosa and Quinnen Williams, who have both developed into All-Pro players. If former general manager Mike Mayock had it his way, one of them would’ve been on the Raiders. Mayock revealed that the team tried to trade up with both the San Francisco 49ers and New York Jets in the 2019 draft.
“The coaching staff really wanted a defensive lineman and we were picking No. 4 that year in 2019,” Mayock said on an April 27 episode of the “Green Light Podcast.” “I knew the first three picks were going to be Kyler Murray [No.] 1, [Nick] Bosa [No.] 2 to San Francisco, and Quinnen Williams [No.] 3 to the Jets. We tried to move up to [No.] 2 and didn’t get him. We tried to move up to [No.] 3 to get Quinnen Williams, but the Jets said no.”
Jets & 49ers Made Correct Call
Mayock didn’t divulge what his offer was to move up but it sounds like both the Jets and 49ers weren’t interested in making a trade regardless. That ended up being the correct decision. Bosa just won Defensive Player of the Year and Williams is coming off a 12.0 sack season. Ferrell is no longer with the Raiders and only notched 10.0 sacks in four seasons.
Depending on what Las Vegas offered, the 49ers and Jets almost certainly made the right calls to keep their picks. Bosa and Williams are looking like they will be two of the better defensive linemen in the NFL for a long time.
Mayock Hoped Ferrell Would Be Next Chris Long
Ferrell wasn’t a bad player. He wasn’t a bust because of any work ethic or off-the-field issues. He put in the work and was a good teammate by all accounts. He just didn’t have the athletic ability to be an elite NFL pass rusher. That is why teams so often bet on athletic players at the beginning of the draft.
However, Mayock wasn’t looking for Ferrell to be a generational pass rusher. He wanted Ferrell to be a solid player who would give the team consistent numbers. Mayock admitted that he wanted the defensive end to be the next Chris Long, who originally came into the NFL as the No. 2 pick of the Los Angeles Rams.
Long never made a Pro Bowl and wasn’t a superstar player but he had a couple of seasons with over 10.0 sacks and won two Super Bowls. He helped contribute to winning football even though he wasn’t always a dominant pass rusher. It’s still possible that Ferrell could have a few good seasons under his belt but it won’t be with the Raiders.