Clelin Ferrell

AFC Notes: Raiders, Jets, McSorley

We previously heard that the Ravens were envisioning a role for rookie Trace McSorley that was similar to Taysom Hill‘s role on the Saints. However, the sixth-rounder is already experimenting with a position that isn’t played by Hill. Talking with “The Lounge” podcast on the Ravens’ website, McSorley said that he took reps as a punt returner during OTAs.

“It’s something that’s a new challenge for me, something that I hadn’t really had never done,” McSorley said (via NFL.com’s Logan Reardon). “So it’s just something interesting to be able to come in and learn and try and prove myself in a different way that I can be able to get on the field and make an impact.

“It’s been interesting. It’s had its ups and downs, obviously the first couple times doing it, but it’s going well. I’m looking forward to be able to come out and do anything that I can, especially in the special teams aspect for the team. I want to prove myself there.”

While the former Penn State quarterback is unlikely to supplant Lamar Jackson under center, he’ll have an opportunity to contribute elsewhere. McSorley already displayed this versatility during his collegiate career, as he rushed for 1,697 yards and 30 touchdowns through three seasons.

Let’s check out some more notes from around the AFC…

  • Could a pair of Jets third-rounders already be on the hot seat? Albert Breer of SI.com writes that “it’s worth keeping an eye” on Florida defensive end Jachai Polite (No. 68) and USC offensive tackle Chuma Edoga (N0. 92). Considering their “character and makeup,” Breer opines that neither players are Joe Douglas– or Adam Gase-types. Of course, Breer also notes that the duo have “a boatload of talent,” which makes their future even more intriguing.
  • While the Raiders have done a whole lot to revamp their roster this offseason, the team still has some major holes. As Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area writes, the team’s defensive line is accompanied by a long list of question marks. Part of the unit’s success will naturally depend on first-rounder Clelin Ferrell, who is expected to play a three-down role for the Raiders. Bair also points to former Giants and Cardinals defensive end Josh Mauro as someone who could play a relatively important role on the front-seven.
  • We learned earlier today that Bengals first-round offensive tackle Jonah Williams is likely to miss the entire season after undergoing surgery on his left shoulder.

Raiders Sign Clelin Ferrell

The Raiders have signed No. 4 overall pick Clelin Ferrell, according to a team announcement. Per the terms of his slot, the Clemson product will receive a four-year deal worth $31.4MM with a $20.8MM signing bonus. And, as a first-round pick, the Raiders will hold a fifth-year team option to continue his contract through the 2023 season. 

Ferrell’s selection was the first major shock of the draft. With the No. 4 overall pick, many expected the Raiders to tap Kentucky pass rusher Josh Allen, but as it turns out, the Raiders were never all that enamored with him. The Raiders badly wanted Ferrell, and despite his late first-round rank on most draft boards, the Raiders were not willing to wait and risk losing out on him.

Ferrell, lauded for his toughness and work ethic, finished out his Clemson stay with new career highs in tackles for a loss (20) and sacks (11.5). Questions remain about his agility and open-field tackling ability, but the Raiders still envision big things for the 6’4″, 264-pound athlete.

With Ferrell and five other draft picks signed, the Raiders still need to address fellow first-rounders Josh Jacobs and Johnathan Abram, as well as second-round cornerback Trayvon Mullen.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Poll: Which Top 10 Pick Has The Highest Bust Potential?

The NFL Draft is just barely in the rear view mirror, which means that teams are full of hope for their young rookies. But, of course, the NFL Draft is largely a crapshoot, and not every player will realize their full potential. 

This year’s draft had talent, but lacked a true consensus on the top player. Many evaluators pegged defensive end Nick Bosa as the player with the highest ceiling in the 2019 class, but other saw Alabama’s Quinnen Williams as the “safest bet.” The 49ers pounced on Bosa with the No. 2 pick while the Jets (and former GM Mike Maccagnan) were delighted to land Williams at No. 3 overall.

Leading up to the draft, much of the attention was on Oklahoma quarterback (and one-time MLB hopeful) Kyler Murray. When Murray announced that he would ditch the Oakland A’s, his stock exploded – Murray was considered a borderline first-round prospect in the winter, but wound up as the Cardinals’ choice at No. 1 overall. Murray has the speed that teams crave at the QB position, but questions persist about his size and overall lack of experience as a full-time starter.

The Cardinals’ long flirtation with Murray brought us the expected result, but the Raiders gave us the real first shock of the draft when they tapped Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell at No. 4 overall. Not to be outdone, the Giants snagged Duke’s Daniel Jones at No. 6 overall. Heading into the draft, neither player was thought to be anywhere near Top 10 consideration, but Mike Mayock and Dave Gettleman were unwilling to trade down and risk losing out on their guys.

The domino effect created by those picks allowed the Bucs to grab inside linebacker Devin White (No. 5 overall), the Jaguars to land outside linebacker Josh Allen (No. 6), the Lions to snag top tight end T.J. Hockenson, the Bills to draft defensive tackle Ed Oliver (No. 9 overall), and the Steelers to finish out the Top 10 with linebacker Devin Bush. Most of those picks were warmly received, but nothing is certain in the draft.

Which Top 10 pick do you think has the highest bust potential? Click below to cast your vote (link for app users) and back up your choice in the comment section.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Raiders, Broncos, Colts, Titans

When Kentucky linebacker Josh Allen was still on the board at No. 4 in the NFL Draft, the Raiders seemed like a solid landing spot after the team finished with just 13 sacks in 2018. Oakland, however, never viewed the pass rusher in play, The Athletic’s Vic Tafur writes.

“I heard that the Raiders weren’t that impressed. I reported pretty early on he wasn’t in play for them at No. 4. I would never question a player’s toughness but there were concerns that he got pushed around a little on some plays at Kentucky and he may not have had enough dog in him for Gruden and Guenther’s liking.”

Oakland, of course, decided to go another way with the pick, surprising many when they tabbed Clemson’s defensive end Clelin Ferrell. Allen, the reigning Bednarik and Nagurski Award winner projected by many to go as high as No. 3, fell a little further and wound up with Jacksonville at No. 7.

While Allen joins a loaded defense in the Jaguars, Ferrell will be looking to fill the void left by All-Pro defensive end Khalil Mack, who recorded just a half-sack fewer than the entire Oakland squad in 2018.

Here’s more from around the AFC:

  • The Broncos and Chris Harris have made progress on a potential short-term deal. Though they could give Harris another year, one possibility is to just increase his salary this season with money, not incentives, and let him leave in free agency and the end of the year, ABC 7’s Troy Renck tweets. Harris, of course, is entering the final year of his deal and, in April, requested to either get a new deal or be traded.
  • Colts wide receiver Deon Cain is expected to be a full-go for training camp, the Indianapolis Star’s Zak Keefer tweets. A sixth-round selection in 2018, Cain tore his ACL in the preseason opener and was sidelined for the entire season. Cain generated plenty of buzz before the injury and could add another weapon to an already steady Indy attack.
  • Back to the Raiders, the team has added several noted scouts to its organization, Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer writes. Among those to make the trek to the Bay Area include the Patriots’ Dujuan Daniels, the Eagles’ Dwayne Joseph, and the Cowboys’ Walt Juliff and Jim Abrams.
  • The Titans also made some staff changes, Paul Kuharsky tweets. Brandon Taylor moved from national scout to pro scout, Mike Boni was elevated from college scout to national scout, and Casey Callahan moved from pro scout to college scout. He also notes that scouting coordinator Tosi Kazeem no long appears to be with the franchise.

West Notes: Raiders, 49ers, Seahawks

After signing several lower-key free agents last year, the Raiders operated aggressively in March. After adding Antonio Brown, the team signed Trent Brown, Lamarcus Joyner, Tyrell Williams, Brandon Marshall and Vontaze Burfict. All are in line to start. But the Raiders’ most deficient area was not fully addressed until the draft. Mike Mayock did not view this year’s class of edge rushers as good fits for the Raiders, who then took three defensive ends in the draft. This perhaps affected the Raiders’ ability to sign UDFA defensive ends.

We didn’t think that free agency was going to be the answer for that,” Mayock said (via NBC Sports Bay Area’s Scott Bair) of addressing the team’s need for edge help. “I thought we did a really nice job here over the weekend to the extent that we couldn’t even sign any (undrafted) free agent defensive ends because they saw we drafted three. They’re all staying away from us.”

Most thought the Raiders reached at No. 4 to draft Clelin Ferrell, whom one league executive said (via Mike Sando of ESPN.com, ESPN+ link) was slower than an NFL quarterback of average speed. The Raiders also drafted Eastern Michigan’s Maxx Crosby in the fourth round and Prairie View A&M’s Quinton Bell in the seventh. While the Raiders did sign Benson Mayowa in free agency, they may still need assistance at this position after their 2018 pass rush recorded the fewest sacks (13) of any NFL team in 10 seasons.

Here is the latest from the West divisions, continuing with a possible Raiders need area:

  • Jon Gruden said Kolton Miller will stay at left tackle, with Trent Brown lining up on the right side and Brandon Parker now a swing player. Gabe Jackson will remain at right guard, but after the Raiders traded All-Pro Kelechi Osemele for a Day 3 pick, the team has a hole at left guard. Gruden said (via Bair) the team will still monitor outside help at that spot. As of now, 2018 waiver claim Denzelle Good is stationed with the first unit there. While Good made 20 starts with the Colts from 2015-17, the free agent market — which includes Andy Levitre, Stefen Wisniewski, Chance Warmack and Shawn Lauvao, among others — may be able to produce a better starter.
  • The 49ers will proceed cautiously with Nick Bosa. Despite the No. 2 overall pick participating fully at the Combine, the 49ers held him out of team drills at rookie minicamp this week. After Bosa missed most of his junior season at Ohio State due to a core muscle injury, the 49ers plan work him in slowly, a team official told Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area.
  • The first punter went off the board in the fourth round this year, with the 49ers making Mitch Wishnowsky being the highest-drafted punter since the Jaguars took Bryan Anger in the 2012 third round. However, the 49ers did not expect to need a punter, per Maiocco, who notes they viewed 2015 fifth-round pick Bradley Pinion as a player likely to be re-signed. Instead, the Buccaneers swooped in and landed the free agent specialist on a four-year, $11MM deal.
  • It looks like the Seahawks‘ search for backup-quarterback candidates may continue. Paxton Lynch resides on Seattle’s roster, but considering his career thus far, it’s no lock the former first-rounder will be Russell Wilson‘s primary backup. The three players who took part in the Seahawks’ rookie camp this weekend — UDFA Taryn Christion (South Dakota State) and tryout arms Troy Williams (Utah) and Michael O’Connor (University of British Columbia) — did not fare well. “I thought the quarterbacks had a hard time,” Pete Carroll said (via ESPN.com’s Brady Henderson, on Twitter). “I thought they struggled with the system and play-calling.”

AFC Notes: Jets, Raiders, Broncos, Hardman

During the hours leading up to the draft’s second night, the Jets were calling teams — the Seahawks, Colts and others — about trading way up into the second round. That did not end up happening. The Jets, who traded their Round 2 pick to the Colts last year for the right to move up to draft Sam Darnold, made the calls because of a desire to add one of the high-end cornerbacks available to start Day 2, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reports. Gang Green sought to jump into the top five of the second round, per Mehta, but they could not come to terms on a deal. Such a jump — from No. 68 into the 30s — would have required a significant draft capital subtraction. The Jets also had a deal with the Eagles to make a less costly move — up to No. 57 — to draft Mecole Hardman, but the Chiefs beat them to it. Corners Byron Murphy, Rock Ya-Sin, Sean Bunting and Trayvon Mullen all went off the board in the first eight picks Friday.

At corner, the Jets have 2018 free agent signing Trumaine Johnson and 2019 addition Brian Poole. As of now, they may be asking Darryl Roberts to be a starter. With no draft picks spent on the position, the Jets may still be on the lookout for help here.

Here is the latest post-draft news from the AFC:

  • The Raiders hoped to trade down from their No. 4 slot, but no calls came, Peter King of NBC Sports notes. Just about every high-end prospect was connected to the Raiders during the pre-draft process, but the team instead went with what most perceived as a bit of a reach in Clelin Ferrell. However, taking the Clemson talent at No. 4 was the team’s backup plan.
  • Joe Flacco‘s work in the early days of the Broncos‘ offseason program dissuaded John Elway from selecting a quarterback at No. 10 overall, something many mock drafts had the Broncos doing. “What made that decision is, Joe is fitting really well with what we want to do offensively, and he looked great in our minicamp last week,” Elway said Thursday, via King. “He really put on a throwing exhibition last week in camp. I truly think we’ve got a guy coming into his prime.” Of course, less than 24 hours later, Drew Lock was a Bronco. Both King and SI.com’s Albert Breer report the Mizzou prospect was the top passer on Denver’s board, with Breer adding that Elway continually brought up Lock in pre-draft meetings, pointing further to the potential value investment at No. 42.
  • As for what would have happened if the Broncos did not receive a strong Steelers offer for No. 10? Denver would have a new starting inside linebacker, with King writing the Broncos would have taken Devin Bush and addressed their offensive needs later.
  • While the Chiefs‘ Hardman pick looks like a Tyreek Hill emergency replacement, and was chosen three rounds ahead of when the polarizing star was taken three years ago, the team views the Georgia speedster as a cross between Hill and gadget-type weapon De’Anthony Thomas — both in terms of role and talent, Breer writes.
  • Of their six 2019 picks, the Jets used one on an offensive lineman — third-round tackle Chuma Edoga. Gang Green entered free agency with plenty of needs up front. While All-Pro Kelechi Osemele is now slotted in as one of the Jets’ first-string guards, Tom Compton represented the team’s only other veteran addition. Although, Jonotthan Harrison re-signed and appears to be a firm option to start, Ralph Vacchiano of SNY notes. The Jets were eyeing interior lineman Connor McGovern in Round 3, per Vacchiano, but the Cowboys beat them to him. As of now, Harrison — a career part-time starter with the Colts who ended last season as the Jets’ top center — is first in line to snap.

AFC West Notes: Chargers, Stick, Broncos

On Saturday, the Chargers drafted their first quarterback since 2013 when they tapped North Dakota State University quarterback Easton Stick. Stick, who rushed for 2,523 yards and 41 TDs, was pegged by some as a Taysom Hill type who could be deployed more as a trick play type than a traditional QB, but the Bolts say that’s not how they plan on using him.

He’s going to play quarterback for us. We have running backs,” head coach Anthony Lynn said (via the Associated Press). “We don’t a need a quarterback that can run all over the place, but he can certainly create when he has to.”

Of course, as a fifth-round pick, nothing is guaranteed for the mobile signal caller. Stick will look to stick on the Chargers’ roster by proving himself between now and the start of the season in September.

Here’s more from the AFC West:

  • Giants GM Dave Gettleman raised eyebrows everywhere when he selected Duke quarterback Daniel Jones No. 6 overall. After the draft, he defended the pick by saying that two teams were prepared to select Jones before the Giants’ next pick at No. 17. So far, it has been hard to identify who these two teams might be, and Mike Klis of 9News (on Twitter) confirms that the Broncos were not one of them. The Broncos, he hears, ruled out taking any QB at No. 10 overall and, furthermore, had Drew Lock as their top-ranked QB – not Jones.
  • The Raiders provided the draft’s other major first round surprise when they tapped Clemson’s Clelin Ferrell at No. 4 overall. Many feel that the Raiders reached for the defensive end, but that’s not how defensive coordinator Paul Guenther sees it. “It wasn’t about his 40-time or his three-cone drill or any of that [BS], it was about the whole package,” the DC said (via The Athletic). “There just aren’t a lot of guys like this. Some guys are great standing up, but you have to get down and dirty in the NFL. They are not just going to let you run up the field all day, you know what I am saying? Then you hear him talk and you’re like, ‘Damn, this guy is a pro.’
  • Over the weekend, longtime Raiders kicker Sebastian Janikowski announced his retirement from the NFL.

NFL Draft Rumors: Ravens, Bush, Titans

Here’s a look at the latest NFL Draft buzz as players take their final visits:

  • Michigan linebacker Devin Bush will visit the Ravens on Wednesday, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Baltimore holds the No. 22 overall pick, but they may have to trade up if they want to land him. The Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year is a surefire first-rounder after putting up 85 tackles, 10 sacks, and 18.5 tackles for loss over the past two years.
  • Oklahoma wide receiver Marquise Brown and Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell will take their last pre-draft visits to the Titans on Wednesday, according to Rapoport (on Twitter). Both players could be on the radar for Tennessee’s No. 19 overall selection.
  • Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver will meet with the Bills, Rapoport hears. They’re far from the only team interested in Oliver, however, and the rival Jets are apparently among the clubs keen on him. The Jets would be reaching if they took Oliver at No. 3 overall, but they’ve been vocal about their desire to trade down. Meanwhile, the Bills could conceivably entertain the Houston product at No. 9 overall.

Extra Points: Clark, Cox, Rivers, Lions, XFL

In extending Russell Wilson, the Seahawks took care of their signature piece of offseason business on Tuesday. But more key contract negotiations loom, with Bobby Wagner entering a contract year and Frank Clark having yet to sign his franchise tender. It appears the trade talk surrounding Clark has not totally died down. This week has produced some chatter around the league about a Clark swap, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk tweets. This comes shortly after a report indicated the Seahawks rebuffed outside interest in Clark at the outset of free agency and would only trade the impact defensive end if they were overwhelmed by an offer. Clark has said he will not report to Seahawks training camp without a long-term deal, so this obviously qualifies as a situation worth monitoring.

Shifting first to another NFC team’s defensive line, here is the latest from around the American football universe:

  • Fletcher Cox confirmed (via Philly.com’s Les Bowen) he underwent an offseason surgery to repair a foot injury sustained during the Eagles‘ divisional-round loss in New Orleans. The procedure appears to have been done several weeks ago, and while Cox is out of a walking boot, the veteran defensive tackle looks set to miss Philadelphia’s offseason program. His goal is to return by training camp. Cox is coming off his best NFL season, which featured a career-high 10.5 sacks and his first appearance on the All-Pro first team.
  • Also in the NFC East: Ezekiel Elliott did show up for the first day of the Cowboys‘ offseason program, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. So far, so good on the prospects of the Cowboys avoiding a contract-related holdout with their star running back. An Elliott holdout has been rumored, but for now, the fourth-year back is working out with his teammates.
  • Conversely, Philip Rivers did not show up for Day 1 of the Chargers‘ offseason work, Eric Williams of ESPN.com notes (on Twitter). The 16th-year quarterback is entering a contract year, but the Bolts view him as an obvious extension candidate. Though, it is not certain if re-up talks have begun. Nevertheless, this does not appear to be a contentious situation.
  • As the deadline for teams to wrap up pre-draft visits approaches, the Lions squeezed in a meeting with Clelin Ferrell, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press notes (via Twitter). Detroit’s biggest offseason investment went toward its defensive end corps, in Trey Flowers‘ deal, but the Lions have met with other edge prospects as well. Both Brian Burns and L.J. Collier visited the Lions this month. Like Burns, Ferrell grades as a first-round-level prospect.
  • Former Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride will resurface in the XFL. The 67-year-old coach will become HC for the XFL’s New York franchise, Jay Glazer of The Athletic tweets. Gilbride has been a head coach twice in his four-decade coaching career, leading the Chargers for 22 games between the 1997-98 seasons and overseeing the Southern Connecticut State program from 1980-84. Gilbride’s most recent NFL role was a seven-year stint as Giants OC, which ended in 2013.

NFL Draft Rumors: Brown, Harry, Cardinals

This week’s combine re-checks produced very positive news for Oklahoma wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Brown, who has been out of a boot for weeks, was given the thumbs up on his surgically-repaired foot.

Despite the injury, the 5’9″ receiver is widely projected as a first round pick. Last year, Brown put himself on the NFL radar with 75 catches for 1,318 yards and ten touchdowns.

Here’s the latest NFL Draft buzz:

  • Arizona State wide receiver N’Keal Harry will work out for the Cardinals on April 20 at ASU, according to a source who spoke with ESPN.com’s Josh Weinfuss (on Twitter). Head coach Kliff Kingsbury, GM Steve Keim, and president Michael Bidwill will be among those on hand for Harry’s only private NFL workout. Harry isn’t a contender for the No. 1 overall pick, but he could be a candidate for the Cardinals’ first pick of the second round (No. 33 overall)
  • The Rams are meeting with Clemson defensive linemen Dexter Lawrence and Clelin Ferrell on campus, Rapoport tweets. Both players are expected to go in the first round, but the Rams may be out of range at No. 31 overall.
  • Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams will visit the Jaguars on Thursday, a source tells ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (Twitter link).
  • Houston cornerback Isaiah Johnson will work out for the Falcons on Thursday, Rapoport tweets. The converted wide receiver came away with two interceptions in each of the last two seasons and could go as high as the second round.