In his first two seasons, Raiders defensive end Clelin Ferrell hasn’t played up to his draft status as a No. 4 overall pick.
It’s not the only measurement of success, but Ferrell has just 6.5 sacks in 26 games. He registered only 2.0 last season while also putting up three tackles for loss and 10 quarterback hits. Ferrell played only 11 games in 2020, missing time while on the COVID-19 list and with a shoulder injury.
But as Ferrell begins his third year as a pro, Raiders head coach Jon Gruden is touting the Clemson product’s versatility.
“Ferrell, he’s a good player,” Gruden said in his Tuesday press conference. “He’s unique because he can play right end, he can play left end, he’s a good run defender. I think his best pass rush might be inside — and you saw that against the Jets when we allowed him to do that last year.
“But certainly, he’s going to be competing, he and Carl Nassib, who had a really good spring. They’re going to have to earn their snaps, and if you know Cle, you know he will compete. And you probably should count on him being a big part of this.”
Las Vegas signed Yannick Ngakoue to play opposite defensive end Maxx Crosby, who has been the Raiders’ best edge rusher since being selected in the fourth round of the 2019 draft.
But between Nassib and Ferrell, the Raiders should have a decent rotation of players for the outside. And if Ferrell can be effective as an interior rusher in known-passing situations, that could be a significant boost.