WT: 260 lbs
Ball Get Off/Arc Speed: Elite first step quickness that allows him to generate speed in a hurry. However, doesn’t maintain that same momentum with his following steps. Still illustrates the ability to beat slow footed tackles to their sets points (Texas A&M). Utilizes lengthy strides to cover ground in minimal time as well.
Run Defense: Physical edge setter with required length to create optimal upper body separation with his opponents. Knows how to close running lanes by washing his blockers down the LOS. Strong enough to shed his adversaries out of the way, after he gains control of their chest plate. Will thrive at defending the run at the next level.
Motor: Motor is always hot. Hustles every rep and plays with a competitive edge.
Bend: Hips are stiff, making it difficult for him to bend the corner. Doesn’t offer much in terms of ankle flexion either. Relies on softening angles with rush moves and get off. Tends to get pushed around the arc when attempting to bend around tighter corners. Utilizes functionally low pad level to dip and rip/minimize the surface area of his chest. However, isn’t a trump card type of move to consistently corner at the next level.
Pass Rush Ability: Hand technique, power, and get off are his most effective pass rushing tools. Awesome at finishing his bull rush and long arm moves by pulling his opponents at the top of the arc. Also, possesses variety a counter strikes in his repertoire. Well versed with clubs, swipes, swims, rips, etc. Responds to tackles’ sets as well. Deploys stutter steps to open rushing lanes and get blockers off kilter. Like mentioned before, doesn’t have the hip flexion to consistently corner at a high level. Fortunately, he accounts for his lack of bend by being extremely polished technically.
Lateral Range/Change of Direction: Has enough lateral range to squeeze towards the mesh point when being optioned. However, isn’t a natural mover in space. Struggles to redirect when attempting to mirror ball carriers/mobile Quarterbacks. Should not be relied on to drop into coverage or spy QBs.
Awareness: Disciplined football player, that identifies blocking schemes and has a plan to defend them. Offers some inside-outside versatility as well. Usually played on the edge, but was given the opportunity to play inside and the results were solid.
Best Trait: Hand Technique
Worst Trait: Bend
Best Film: Texas A&M (2018)
Worst Film: South Carolina (2018)
Many questioned Clelin Ferrel’s decision to go back to school after a productive 2017 season. However, it seemed to be the right decision because he made obvious improvement in 2018. With that being said, there are many things to like about Ferrell like his explosive get off, nuanced hand technique, superb functional strength, and football savvy.
Yet, he lacks the flexibility to consistently win from the outside edge track at the next level. Which might limit his ceiling as a pass rusher. Fortunately, he has a potential silver lining. If he can show that he offers more hip flexion (than he does on tape) at the combine by timing well in the 3 cone and 20 yard shuttle drills. He can improve his stock. But even without optimal bend, he is still a more than capable pass rusher and will thrive at defending the run. Meaning the NFL should covet him relatively high. Playing with his hand in the dirt at Defensive End in a 4-3 defense would be the best fit for his skill set.
- Marino, Joe. “2019 NFL Draft Player Profile: Clelin Ferrell.” The Draft Network, 28 Dec. 2018, thedraftnetwork.com/2018/12/28/2019-nfl-draft-player-profile-clelin-ferrell/.