As we inch closer to the 2021 season, one of the biggest storylines for the Raiders is how well will their five first-round picks from 2019-2020 perform. It’s a make-or-break year for a few of them, including defensive end Clelin Ferrell.
After being the No. 4 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, Ferell has recorded just 6.5 sacks in 26 starts. That has led many to believe that he’s been a disappointing player in the NFL. However, the sack numbers don’t quite tell the whole story.
In a recent piece by Pro Football Focus, they ranked the top 32 edge rushers in the NFL. Admittedly, it was a bit surprising to see Ferrell on the list. Here is what the site said about Ferrell and his ranking at No. 32:
“Ferrell hasn’t lived up to the expectations that come with being a top-five pick in the NFL draft, but he was much improved in his second season out of Clemson in 2020. Ferrell improved his overall grade from 62.3 to 76.1 to go along with a 3.5 percentage point jump to his pressure rate in the 11 games he appeared in. He is trending in the opposite direction of fellow 2019 draftee Maxx Crosby, whose overall grade fell nearly eight points from his first to second season last year.”
As hinted at by senior writer Ben Linsley, Crosby did not appear on the list while Ferrell did. Free-agent addition Yannick Ngakoue came in at No. 24, so it is a bit shocking to see two EDGE defenders from the Raiders make the list.
Ferrell isn’t the best pass rusher in the world, but he is a good run defender and is improving as a pass rusher. However, the team needs even more from him in Year 3. If he can continue to be a stud against the run and add seven-eight sacks as a pass rusher, this team has a chance to be really good on the defensive line.