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2019 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Clelin Ferrell
Clelin Ferrell, 6-4/264
Clelin Ferrell Scouting Report By Charlie Campbell
Nose for the quarterback
Burst to close
Potential for repertoire of moves
Uses hands and feet at the same time
Excellent rip move
Good in pursuit
Enough speed to get around the corner
Solid run defender
Can hold his ground at the point of attack
Enough speed to get around the corner
Athletic enough to redirect
Not overly fast
Not overly strong
Should continue to refine pass-rushing moves
Summary: In the passing-driven NFL, edge defenders who can get after the quarterback are always in demand. Off his speed, athleticism and length, Ferrell has the potential to be an impactful edge defender with double-digit sack potential as a pro. Over the past few years at Clemson, Ferrell proved to be a consistent quarterback hunter who improved his run defense to become a well-rounded player.
In 2016, Ferrell had a strong debut as a redshirt freshman with 44 tackles, 12.5 tackles for a loss, six sacks and two passes batted while helping Clemson to win the National Championship. Ferrell then put together a big statistical season as a redshirt sophomore, but he was even better than the numbers indicate. In 2017, he totaled 66 tackles with 18 tackles for a loss, 9.5 sacks, one pass batted and two forced fumbles. However, Ferrell put a ton of heat on the quarterback and the pressures that he started led to production for his teammates as quarterbacks scrambled toward other defenders while trying to escape Ferrell.
In his final season of college football, Ferrell once again helped Clemson with a National Championship, recording 55 tackles with 11.5 sacks, 19.5 tackles for a loss, four passes batted and three forced fumbles during 2018. Ferrell could have returned for another season, but he entered the 2019 NFL Draft with the rest of Clemson's starting defensive line.
Ferrell is a balanced pass rusher. He has a nice first-step that he uses to get upfield. Ferrell utilizes his functional upper body strength to fight off blocks and has an impressive left arm rip move to shed left tackles and get underneath them. Once he's free, Ferrell has the quickness to close on the quarterback.
Ferrell is a sound run defender as well. He has enough size and strength to hold his ground and not get blown off the ball. When runs come straight at him, Ferrell has shown some ability to holds his ground, shed the block, and get in on the tackles. He has nice recognition skills and flows to the ball when runs don't come his direction. While Ferrell is not a dominant run defender, he is solid and contributes.
In speaking with NFL sources, they say that Ferrell would fit best as a left end in a 4-3 defense. He could be a solid pass-rusher going against right tackles, and they don't expect Ferrell to produce huge sack numbers in the NFL. Ferrell could play in a 3-4 as a standup outside linebacker, but he would fit better in a 4-3.
Player Comparison: Derrick Morgan. Ferrell reminds me of Morgan coming out of Georgia Tech. Morgan (6-4, 261) is a well-rounded defender who is a solid, but not prolific, pass-rusher while being a dependable run defender. Morgan was a mid-first-round pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, and Ferrell could go in the same range this year.
NFL Matches: Miami, Atlanta, Washington, Carolina, Tennessee, Pittsburgh, Seattle, Houston, Oakland, Indianapolis, Kansas City, New England
After the first 10 spots, there are a lot of teams that could consider drafting Ferrell. The Dolphins could use an edge rusher to replace Cameron Wake, so Ferrell could be in play for Miami. Atlanta needs another end as Vic Beasley is in the last year of his contract and has disappointed the past two seasons. Ferrell would give the Falcons more size at end.
In the mid-teens, Ferrell has some potential landing spots. The Redskins lost Preston Smith in free agency, so they could consider taking Ferrell to pair with him. Just after Washington, the Panthers could take Ferrell with the 16th pick. Carolina needs to improve its pass rush and replace Julius Peppers. Mario Addison and Bruce Irvin are only signed for 1-year contracts
Late in the top 20, the Titans could use a young pass-rusher to pair with Harold Landry, so Ferrell could be in play for Tennessee. Pittsburgh also could use an edge rusher to go with T.J. Watt, so picks No. 19 and 20 are possibilities for Ferrell.
Among the playoff teams, Ferrell has a lot of options. Seattle could use another edge rusher, and Ferrell could be a scheme fit for the Seahawks. A few picks later, Ferrell could be in play for Houston. The Texans have bigger needs along the offensive line and in the secondary, but they have to consider more pass-rush talent. Jadeveon Clowney may not be signed to a long-term deal, while Whitney Mercilus wasn't the same last year. J.J. Watt is also aging, so the Texans could consider Ferrell.
Oakland could use a young edge rusher to go with Arden Key and might double up on edge rushers in the first round. Thus, Ferrell could interest the Raiders with their two picks in the 20s. Kansas City cut Justin Houston and traded Dee Ford, so the roster needs a young edge rusher.
The defending champions could also consider more pass-rush talent. Trey Flowers left in free agency, and the Patriots could stand to improve their edge rush.