Clelin Ferrell was the No. 4 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, but he didn't turn out to be the best rookie pass rusher on the Raiders' roster. While Maxx Crosby was the surprise of the draft with 10 sacks and four forced fumbles, Ferrell was inconsistent throughout his first year.
The undersized Ferrell has apparently added on some muscle this offseason -- fitting, since he's undergoing a change along with the Raiders, who are moving to Las Vegas.
"He's lean and mean and running pretty good," Raiders defensive line coach Mark Hall said of Ferrell, via Vic Tafur of The Athletic. "We had a really good offseason and I know he can't wait to get to Las Vegas and put that product on the field."
Ferrell finished with 38 tackles, 4.5 sacks, five passes defensed and eight quarterback hits in 15 games for the Raiders last season, recording 23 pressures. Ferrell's 4.5 sacks placed him sixth among rookies, and he was behind three edge rushers in his class that were also selected in the first round (Nick Bosa, Brian Burns, Montez Sweat). He was tied for eighth in quarterback hits.
A Week 5 bout with food poisoning temporarily saw Ferrell lose 15 pounds, while he played the majority of his rookie year at 262 pounds. Ferrell is now up to 275 pounds in an effort to dominate in the trenches week in and week out. Hall doesn't think the improved muscle mass isn going to slow Ferrell down, as his first step was a huge part of the reason why he was drafted so high -- along with his college production at Clemson. The latter part was certainly missing in Year 1.
"Last year was more of an introduction to Cle," Hall said. "Then last season, I noticed some deficiencies in Cle's game and the Raiders played him inside some, too. So he needed to put on some more pounds, especially in his lower body, and we polished up his pass-rush game."
The first year for an edge rusher is a learning curve, especially since the Raiders played Ferrell inside at times. Year 2 should be a better indicator how Ferrell will fare against NFL offensive lines.