There are several common descriptive words and phrases that describe upcoming draft prospects. Usually phrases like “good size, instincts” and “NFL-ready” are spread out to describe multiple players. The thing is Clelin Ferrell fits all of the above and is an elite edge rusher in the upcoming 2019 NFL Draft.
The Los Angeles Rams did recently address edge rushing by adding veterans Dante Fowler and Clay Matthews. They are still looking for a younger true defensive end. Drafting Clelin Ferrell would fill the void at defensive end. Ferrell would undoubtedly provide an immediate impact and a reliable edge rusher for the Rams to build around in the future.
College stats and honors:
2018: 12 sacks (#1 in ACC), 55 tackles, 2 passes defended and 3 forced fumbles, including one returned for a TD
Career: 27 sacks, 166 tackles, 51 for loss, 5 passes defended, 5 forced fumbles, one returned for a TD
Honors: 2018 ACC Defensive Player of the Year, 2018 All American (1x), 2018 Ted Hendricks Award
Standing at 6’5” and weighing in at 260 pounds, Ferrell is an intimidating force off the edge. He possesses tremendous hand movement, and establishes first contact with consistency. He is great at varying his rush movements to confuse opposing blockers. Ferrell also has enough quickness and snap anticipation to get out of blocks. He pushes offensive tackles vertically on passing downs and moves horizontally to make tackles. Ferrell is a naturally-gifted athlete at defensive end. His movement, ability to shed blockers and anticipation are instinctive. He is the epitome of “NFL-ready” and should see a hearty amount of playing time in his rookie season.
It’s difficult to find weaknesses in a player like Clelin Ferrell. He lacks elite bend and doesn’t have the best release off the line. He is adequate at gaining ground off the snap. But these are nitpicks comparing to his strengths. Making these criticisms are simply pointing out that he’s not a perfect prospect, which no one in the NFL Draft will be. He did suffer from an ACL tear in 2014, which doesn’t seem to bother him considering his production. This injury is likely the reason teams may overlook him. Although, he does remain among the top 5 edge rushers in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Expected Draft Round:
Even in a defensive lineman-heavy draft class, it’s likely that Ferrell will be drafted in the first round. If available at No. 31 overall, the Rams should snatch him immediately in my opinion. It would be surprising if Ferrell were to fall into the second round. In any case, the team that takes him will be acquiring potentially one of the next great pass rushers in the NFL.