NAPA -- The Raiders raised some eyebrows when they chose to draft defensive end Clelin Ferrell with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, but the Clemson product has opened some eyes early in his Raiders tenure.
While Ferrell might have been behind guys like Josh Allen on other team's boards, the Raiders liked what they saw from the two-time national champion and are banking on him to be a three-down threat off the edge from the opening game. The Raiders opened training camp Saturday, and while there were no pads worn, Ferrell looked quick off the edge during drills and in 11-on-11 work.
Quarterback Derek Carr, for one, has been impressed by the rookie rusher.
"The guy I just love, man, is Ferrell," Carr said after practice. "My goodness man. That guy works his absolute butt off. We don't know if he can play football yet, right? We all believe he can, but we don't know. But if you sit there and you talk to him and you watch him, if it doesn't work out for him, it won't be because he didn't try or he didn't care. That won't be the reason. And you can win with that."
Ferrell was a hugely productive defensive end during his four years in Death Valley. In his last three seasons as a key cog in defensive coordinator Brent Venables' wrecking ball unit, Ferrell notched 83 tackles, 50.5 tackles or loss and 27 sacks while helping the Tigers win two titles in three seasons.
The Raiders are hoping Ferrell brings the same production, intensity and fire to a team that sorely lacked an effective pass rush after Khalil Mack was traded, totaling an NFL-worst 13 sacks in 2018.
We know Ferrell puts in the work, now we'll just have to see if it translates to first-round draft pick level production on an NFL field.