Raiders

NFL draft 2019: Raiders taking Clelin Ferrell No. 4 surprised many

NFL draft 2019: Raiders taking Clelin Ferrell No. 4 surprised many

ALAMEDA – The Raiders surprised most everyone by taking Clelin Ferrell with the No. 4 overall pick.

There’s no reason to raise an eyebrow at his talent level, college production or Raiders defensive scheme fit. There aren’t red flags to find with this grinder raised in a military family. He fills the team’s most pressing need rushing off the edge.

Curiosity comes solely from the draft slot. He was projected to go after several edge rushers still available when the Raiders picked, but the Raiders had a different draft ranking.

Theirs is the only one that matters.

Coach Jon Gruden and GM Mike Mayock wanted Nick Bosa, who went No. 2 to San Francisco. They wanted Quinnen Williams, who went No. 3 to the New York Jets.

With both off the board, the Raiders went with a safe, steady player expected to be productive at the NFL level. He doesn’t have the raw athleticism of some other defensive ends in the draft, but he produces. He’s reliable. He’s a stand-up guy with great character. He’s a pro’s pro, with an arsenal of pass-rush moves already at his disposal.

Gruden and Mayock would be thrilled with a repeat of his college production. Ferrell had 27 sacks and 50.5 tackles for a loss in three college seasons and consistently proved capable of creating havoc off the edge. The Raiders need instant production, and Ferrell can deliver that. He also works to set the edge in the run game and could be an every-down player right away. The Raiders certainly need that a position of great need, after totaling just 13 sacks a year ago.

“It surprised me,” Ferrell said of going No. 4 overall. “It surprised a lot of people. ...It was a great honor to be taken at that moment. I’m just so excited. I can’t wait to be a part of this franchise.”

He was projected to be available far later in the first round, likely a mid-round pick who might’ve been available as deep as the team’s two other first-round picks at Nos. 24 and 27 overall. A trade down to the early teens could’ve still netted Ferrell -- in theory, anyway.

All it would take is one team as in love with Ferrell as the Raiders to dash their grand plan to pick the Clemson alum.

There were no trades. The Raiders took Ferrell at No. 4 overall.

Oakland did so with Josh Allen still on the board. The Raiders didn’t consider the Kentucky edge rusher, a good fit, who ended up going No. 7 to the Jaguars.

The Raiders were believed to like Oliver, but he didn’t fill as pressing of a need with promising three-technique Maurice Hurst already on the roster.

[RELATED: Ferrell wants to be what Aldon Smith should have been]

Gruden and Mayock went with a guy they could trust at a pick they had in front of them, even if those on the outside considered it a reach.

Time will tell if it was.

Agent Drew Rosenhaus responds to Mike Mayock's Antonio Brown statement

Agent Drew Rosenhaus responds to Mike Mayock's Antonio Brown statement

The Raiders sent a well-coordinated shot across Antonio Brown’s bow Sunday afternoon, after the superstar wide receiver left training camp frustrated over not being allowed to wear the helmet he wants.

Raiders general manager Mike Mayock issued an in-person statement to reporters on the scene in Napa, and within minutes, the team had video of it posted on its social media accounts.

Brown spends significant time on those popular platforms, so he undoubtedly heard the Raiders' frustration straight from Mayock’s mouth.

The first-year GM made it clear that he wants to know if Brown is “all-in or all-out” after leaving camp frustrated that his preferred Schutt Air Advantage helmet failed a safety test and now is banned from use. Mayock said the Raiders have been supportive of Brown’s quest to wear the helmet he wants but have “exhausted all options.”

As of 10 p.m. Sunday, Brown hadn't responded to Mayock on social media through outright statements or cryptic posts. But  his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, did so late Sunday in an appearance on WSVN-TV’s "Sports Xtra," aired in the Miami market.

Here’s what he had to say, in its entirety.

“We have worked very closely with the Raiders, and will continue to work very closely with the Raiders,” Rosenhaus said. “I’m not sure we agree that we’ve exhausted all the options, as Mike Mayock said, but there’s no doubt it’s still an ongoing process. We are trying to work with the team and the league and the union on a solution. We haven’t figured that out yet.

“To say that AB is upset about the decision to not let him wear his helmet is accurate, but we’re still processing it and figuring it out. I wouldn’t make too much about him not being there today, as much as we’re still trying to come up with a solution that works for everyone.”

That was Rosenhaus’ response to this statement from Mayock: "Antonio Brown is not here today, and here's the bottom line: He's upset about the helmet issue. We have supported that. We appreciate that. We have, at this point, exhausted all avenues of relief. From our perspective, it's time for him to be all-in or all-out.

"We're hoping he is back soon. We have 89 guys busting their tails. We are really excited about where this franchise is going, and we hope AB is going to be a big part of it starting Week 1 against Denver. End of story. No questions."

The Raiders formally break training camp Monday morning, and will conduct a practice at their Alameda training facility Tuesday. They are scheduled to leave Wednesday to play a Thursday preseason game against the Green Bay Packers in Winnipeg, Canada.

Antonio Brown misses Raiders practice; GM Mike Mayock shows frustration

Antonio Brown misses Raiders practice; GM Mike Mayock shows frustration

NAPA -- The Raiders have clearly reached a breaking point with Antonio Brown.

General manager Mike Mayock made that point clear during Sunday's final training-camp practice, which their superstar receiver did not attend over his longstanding helmet issue.

His quest to use a preferred Schutt Air Advantage helmet hit a snag on Saturday -- it failed an NFL test, per Pro Football Talk -- and he left camp in frustration.

The Raiders, and Mayock in particular, have been supportive of Brown's helmet preference. Going AWOL at this point, when he's healthy enough to practice fully for only the second time since dealing with frostbitten feet, is a point of contention for his employer.

"Antonio Brown is not here today, and here's the bottom line: he's upset about the helmet issue," Mayock said in a statement to reporters on hand Sunday in Napa. "We have supported that. We appreciate that. We have, at this point, exhausted all avenues of relief. From our perspective, it's time for him to be all-in or all-out.

"We're hoping he is back soon. We have 89 guys busting their tails. We are really excited about where this franchise is going, and we hope AB is going to be a big part of it starting Week 1 against Denver. End of story. No questions."

Brown’s helmet saga has gone on for months, because the Schutt Air Advantage helmet he has used in some form or another since high school was no longer permitted for use in NFL games. Only helmets certified by an independent safety body (NOCSAE) are eligible for use, and helmets over 10 years old are not eligible for certification.

According to an epic Twitter thread by NFL Network’s Mike Silver, Brown has been so frustrated by an inability to use his preferred helmet, that he resorted to repainting a Schutt Air Advantage helmet brought in from outside the team when the Raiders wouldn’t give him one.

Brown filed a grievance with the NFL and NFLPA to wear his preferred helmet, and an independent arbitrator formally ruled against him on Aug. 12.

Drew Rosenhaus, Brown’s agent, said the following day that he believed a resolution was close thanks to a loophole in the certification rules. If Brown’s camp could find a Schutt Air Advantage helmet less than 10 years old, they could re-condition it and get it re-certified.

Brown’s camp crowd sourced the effort and acquired a few such models, though the NFL and NFLPA told Brown’s representation that a newer version would have to be submitted to an independent lab for testing. Per a source, the helmet failed the test.

Brown’s representatives were informed of the failed test on Saturday. After failing the test, the source said, the Schutt Air Advantage has now been placed on the list of helmets prohibited by the NFL.

Brown voiced his displeasure with that decision on social media, using language that will not be repeated here.

He left Raiders camp for a second time after receiving bad news about his helmet.

He came back Tuesday from his first absence, a 10-day stint in Florida, where Rosenhaus said he was gone only to receive treatment for frostbitten feet.

His private treatment ended before his Aug. 13 return to Napa, and Brown was healthy enough to run full speed in pre-game warm-ups before Thursday’s exhibition in Arizona and participate fully in Saturday’s walk-through practices.

He was supposed to practice fully on Sunday, for the first time since July 30, but left camp instead over this helmet news.

Brown’s decision to leave amplified the Raiders’ simmering frustration and prompted Mayock’s statement, which drew a line in the sand.

[RELATED: AB's agent responds to Mayock's statement]

The Raiders traded third- and fifth-round picks to Pittsburgh for Brown, and subsequently reworked his contract to pay out $50 million over three seasons, including $30 million guaranteed.

Brown spoke after Thursday’s preseason game and refuted a report that he would retire over this helmet issue.

“Why would I retire, man?” Brown said. “I have a beautiful career. I’m healthy. I love to play the game. Obviously, I inspire people with the way I play the game. I’m grateful to play the game. I’m excited to put it all on display, not only for my family but for these guys and our shared goals and everybody in the community who believes in me.”

Brown said that before Saturday’s news that his preferred helmet was prohibited. He and Rosenhaus have stated that they are willing to work within the system to find a helmet suitable for Brown to wear and feel safe playing in.

Brown has to decide his next course of action, whether or not to return to a team that has grown frustrated with his decision to leave the team over this issue, when there are plenty of certified helmets to choose from.