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2019 NFL Draft Profiles: Clelin Ferrell, defensive end, Clemson

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College Football Playoff National Championship Presented By AT&T - Alabama v Clemson Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

It is officially Draft Week. The 2019 NFL Draft will open on Thursday, with the Miami Dolphins making the 13th overall pick. Where will the team look on Thursday - and throughout the selection process?

After yesterday’s look at a draft target that would make more sense as a Friday selection, this morning, we return to the first round and add a fifth prospect to our draft profile series, with Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell joining the group. There is no denying Miami’s need for a pass rusher, and Ferrell could be exactly that player. Would you target the Clemson star at 13?

Clelin Ferrell bio

Age: 21 (May 27, 1997)
Born: Richmond, VA
High School: Benedictine College Prep, Richmond, VA
College: Clemson

As a freshman in 2015, Ferrell made one appearance at Clemson, recording one tackle, before sitting the rest of the year for a redshirt season. As a redshirt freshman in 2016, he played in 14 games with 44 tackles, 12.5 of them for a loss, with six sacks, and two passes defensed. Ferrell added 66 tackles, 18 for a loss, 9.5 sacks, one pass defensed, and two forced fumbles in 2017, then 55 tackles, 20 for a loss, 11.5 sacks, two passes defensed, one fumble recovery with a touchdown, and three forced fumbles. He was named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year, won the Ted Hendricks Award in 2018 as the country’s best defensive end and was a Consensus All-American, as well as being a First-Team All-American in 2017.

Clelin Ferrell measurables

Height: 6’4”
Weight: 264 lbs.
Arms: 34-1/8”
Hands: 10-1/2”
Bench press: 25
3-cone drill: 7.26
20-yard shuttle: 4.4
60-yard shuttle: 12.07

Ferrell did not do the 40-yard dash or any of the jumping (vertical or broad) at the NFL Scouting Combine, then was forced to not take part in Clemson’s pro day with a toe injury.

What they are saying

Stephen White, SB Nation - Back when I first started watching film so I could do Christian Wilkins’ breakdown was when Clelin Ferrell initially started to piss me off. See, when I do film evaluations I try really hard to zone in on the player I’m going to write about. Here I was, minding my own business, just trying to put my complete focus on Wilkins, when, out of the blue, this Ferrell guy keeps constantly showing up and distracting me ... by making big plays. I’m talking, he has just about everything you could possibly ask for. He has good size at 6’4 and over 260 pounds with arms that are just longer than 34 inches. His get-off was also outstanding. Ferrell was consistently the first guy off the ball on a defensive line that was stacked with talent. Ferrell played with good technique as well. He was great with his hands, especially when escaping off blocks as a pass rusher.

The more I saw of Ferrell, the more convinced I became that he absolutely has first-round talent. He is just too good of a pass rusher for me to be able to imagine 32 teams passing him up. I don’t know about his off-the-field situation or anything like that, but on the field Ferrell is a beast without a doubt. He can fit in as a base 3-4 edge rusher, or a base 4-3 defensive end. He should be ready to start right away, but even if he just works in as a situational pass rusher at first, I believe Ferrell is going to be a big contributor this season and for every season thereafter, barring injury. Because of his ability to rush the passer I can see Ferrell putting up the kind of sack numbers that will have him at least in the Pro Bowl conversation by his third season, too. I would still rank Josh Allen and Montez Sweat higher than him on my board, but Clelin Ferrell isn’t that far off from those guys, to be honest. I would fully expect to hear his name called on the first night of the draft just like theirs will be, too. It will be interesting to see which out of those three ends up having the most impactful career. I wouldn’t bet against Ferrell just yet, that’s for sure.

durst, Hogs Haven - Ferrell is actually a pretty similar prospect to Nick Bosa. While neither are as athletic as Rashan Gary or Montez Sweat, each are a better technicians. Also similar to Bosa, Ferrell wins with heavy hands, appears to have a pass-rush plan, understands angles and body positioning, and gives second effort if his first move is neutralized. Ferrell is an EDGE that is battle-tested, has been highly productive, and looks somewhat scheme diverse. Somewhat of a limited athlete, he has been lauded for his first step quickness, yet ridiculed for relatively slow 2nd and 3rd step. While Ferrell is experienced dropping into coverage, doing so plays into his weaknesses instead of his strengths.

Thomas Wheaton, Silver and Black Pride - Ferrell is one of the elite edge rusher prospects in this class. His size and strength is his calling card. In combination with his motor, Ferrell is solid both as a run stopper as well as a pass rusher. Has the ability to be a three-down player due to that versatility. Intelligent in his use of pass rushing moves, he understands how to get the most of his long arms and hand usage. Should become a starter right away at the next level. A winner at the collegiate level, Ferrell is a natural leader and competitor and will be a nice addition to any locker room. Comparison: Vinny Curry, Olivier Vernon

Lance Zierlein, - Highly productive 4-3 defensive end with prototypical size, length and strength to offer early help against both the run and pass. Playing next to NFL talent in all three years certainly made things easier for Ferrell, but his edge-setting and rush plan improvements are self-made. His rush can be leggy and gradual and might not get home as often in the pros, but NFL coaching might further unleash his physical traits and turn him into a star. Ferrell is a complete defender and steady talent who could start early for a 4-3 stop unit. Comparison: Derrick Morgan

Joe Marino, The Draft Network - Ferrell’s size, hand usage and power combined with his modest burst and flexibility makes him and ideal fit as a 4-3 defensive end. He plays with an unrelenting motor that pairs well with his play strength to make him a dominant run defender and potent pass rusher. He is reliant on technique as a pass rusher and won’t be able to win solely based on athletic ability. Given his experience and technical refinement, Ferrell should factor into the rotation early in his career with the upside to become a productive starter by Year 2/3.

Ryan Wilson, CBS Sports - Clelin Ferrell was arguably the best player on college football’s most dominant defensive line last season. He, along with Dexter Lawrence and Christian Wilkins played an important role in Clemson’s run to the national title. Now he hopes that success translates to the NFL, where he has designs on being the next great pass rusher. Strengths: Ferrell, who had a dominant college career, has an explosive first step, good change of direction and a high motor. He has an assortment of pass-rush moves and shows good lateral mobility for someone who’s 6-foot-4 and 264 pounds. Better suited to play defensive end in a 4-3 scheme but could also be a 3-4 outside linebacker. Weaknesses: Ferrell needs to get stronger but despite concerns about flexibility, he has the athleticism to regularly turn the corner on offensive tackles and get to the quarterback. Comparison: Chandler Jones.

Gavino Borquez, USA Today Draft Wire - Overall, Ferrell is a prospect that best projects as a 4-3 edge defender. Ferrell is an intelligent and powerful player, using leverage, moderate flexibility, and hand savvy to secure the edge and be equally productive versus the run and the pass. He isn’t a twitchy athlete who will capture the corner on speed alone, but his efficient pass-rush process and ball awareness will force NFL offensive tackles to prepare for his skill-set. He could be a full-time starter who has double digit sack potential by Year 2 or 3.

Mike Esposito, FanDuel - Aside from Nick Bosa, one could argue that Clelin Ferrell might be the best edge defender in the 2019 draft class. The 21-year-old has an explosive first step off the snap and plays with a combination of strength and agility rarely seen at his position. That skill set was consistently on display during Ferrell’s redshirt junior year with the 2019 College Football Playoff Champion Clemson Tigers. Ferrell notched a career-high 11.5 sacks and 20 tackles for loss that helped earn him First-Team All-American honors in the 2018 season. Many scouts believe that Ferrell is the complete package at defensive end, capable of effectively rushing the passer and stuffing the run. If he plays to his potential, the Clemson product could develop into a perennial double-digit sack artist in the NFL.

Charlie Campbell, Walter Football - 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. 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. Comparison: Derrick Morgan.

Video breakdowns and film

Should Dolphins be interested?

My draft crush this year is Ed Oliver, but he is not going to land anywhere near pick 13. After that, I would really like Jawaan Taylor, because I think Miami has to finally solve this offensive line puzzle, but then I come to the two Clemson defensive linemen, Christian Wilkins and Ferrell. I do not think Miami could go wrong with either pick, and I would be ecstatic to see Ferrell’s name be called. The Dolphins have to find their next great pass rusher to replace Cameron Wake, who replaced Jason Taylor. Ferrell could be that guy.


How would you grade the Dolphins pick of Clelin Ferrell?

This poll is closed

  • 55%
    (112 votes)
  • 33%
    (68 votes)
  • 8%
    (17 votes)
  • 0%
    (1 vote)
  • 2%
    (5 votes)
203 votes total Vote Now