Coming out of Clemson University, Clelin Ferrell was the first defensive end taken off the board in the 2019 NFL Draft. Despite winning a national championship, the Ted Hendricks Award and ACC Defensive Player of the Year, Ferrell still had his fair share of doubters coming to the Raiders.
But since entering his second season, Ferrell has been consistently proving naysayers and draft experts wrong by displaying what he says he picked up the most at Clemson being under Dabo Swinney: Work ethic.
"Everybody practices, everybody comes out here and goes to play and goes through drills — but it's not about that, it's about who can do it the best and who can execute the best," Ferrell said Thursday. "A term that always stuck with me was 'you've got to be able to do the common things in an uncommon way' and that will always give you success."
Pro Football Focus has also ranked Ferrell the 12th best edge rusher in the league so far this season with a 76.7 PFF grade. He currently sits at 11 tackles and two pass deflections this season, along with a slew of quarterback hurries, including nine on Patrick Mahomes in the Raiders' Week 5 victory over the Chiefs.
Defensive Coordinator Paul Guenther has been enamored with Ferrell's play so far this season and his improvement since being drafted out of Clemson.
"I think he's getting better every week," said Paul Guenther. "He pushes the pocket, he's really getting to the run game. You always look at the sack numbers but when you're pushing the pocket and creating the ball to come out sooner than it should, it helps everything else out. ... I think he's only going to continue to get better because he works his tail off everyday. I'd love to have 100 of these guys."
Ferrell's consistent effort to disrupt the game may not always show up on the stat sheet, and he doesn't mind that.
"At the end of the day, I'm more so worried about the group," said Ferrell. "As a group, we still have long ways we got to go, myself included, being a leader."
"Sunday will be a really, really good opportunity for me to go out there and really showcase my skills, so I'm excited."