61°F
weather icon Clear

Raiders rookie Clelin Ferrell continues to adapt to NFL

ALAMEDA, Calif. — His rookie season is almost over, but the learning process continues for Raiders defensive end Clelin Ferrell. Every practice, every game and every blocking scheme is an opportunity to devour information.

That he’s sometimes on the wrong end of that learning curve is perfectly fine with him, too. In fact, he appreciates the process. It’s all a vital component to becoming the player the Raiders envisioned when selecting him with the fourth overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft.

That hasn’t happened yet. Ferrell has 31 tackles in 13 games. His 3½ sacks came in two games, and he’s gone six games without a sack, tackle for loss, quarterback pressure or quarterback hit.

He has 12 quarterback pressures, seven quarterback hits and four tackles for losses while spending the first nine games playing the three-technique as an inside pass rusher before moving outside to defensive end after flu-like symptoms resulted in a 15-pound weight loss.

“A lot of the production that we’ve got from Ferrell is production that no one really knows about,” Raiders coach Jon Gruden said. “But he’s had some really good moments, he’s had some tough snaps and some tough, tough moments, but he’s hanging in there.”

In a season that hasn’t necessarily lived up to expectations, Ferrell is focused on the big picture.

“I’ve just been enjoying the whole ride,” he said. “It’s been really good. And I love that it’s been a learning experience. I feel that will help me reach my potential. There’s many years to come, and I think people will see that potential.”

But he does have one wish.

He looks forward to the day when his natural instincts win the day over the constant thinking he’s doing on the field and sometimes develops into a subtle doubt that leads to playing fearfully rather than confidently.

It’s a hurdle he had to clear early in his career at Clemson, where the mandate to play almost perfectly led to playing too hesitantly.

“The rule was you can’t mess up, and I feel like I got that little bit of fear of messing up,” Ferrell said. “And you can’t have that. You have to play free and confident.”

The Raiders picked up on some of that hesitancy early in the season.

“I just felt like he was thinking too much about some things,” Raiders defensive coordinator Paul Guenther said. “And I was just like, go cut it loose. Go rush the passer. Go play your run fit. Whatever it is, just play fast. You’re going to make mistakes as a rookie, it’s a natural thing as a rookie. I just don’t want you thinking about it or overthinking it. This is not a piece-by-piece game, it’s a go and go.”

Ferrell eventually turned worry into confidence at Clemson, and by his junior year, he was named first-team All-American and won the Ted Hendricks Award as the country’s best defensive end.

When he finds himself overthinking things, Ferrell reminds himself of the mental blocks he cleared at Clemson.

“When you’re going against an offensive lineman, you have to realize you’re not just going against him, you’re also going against the guy beside him,” Ferrell said. “It’s literally a connective system that they have. It’s five guys working together at all times, and then you sometimes have help from the running back and tight ends as far as the passing game. … So it’s really just learning the whole full scale of the offense.”

It worked out in college. And the Raiders think the same will happen in the NFL.

“He’s in there in the trenches for us, stopping the run,” Guenther said. “He’s not a specialized pass rusher coming off the end. Everyone looks at the sack numbers, but there’s a lot of other things that people don’t see that he’s done a good job of.”

There’s also a learning curve off the field, Ferrell said.

“Like how this league works. How the media works. It’s the whole combination of things. How to interact with teammates. How to grow up and be a man and do things on your own,” he said.

“… I feel like it’s been a good year for me, regardless of what people say on the outside. There’s been challenges. But also moments of success, too.”

More Raiders: Follow at vegasnation.com and @VegasNation on Twitter.

Contact Vincent Bonsignore at vbonsignore@reviewjournal.com. Follow @VinnyBonsignore on Twitter.

Like and follow Vegas Nation
Raiders Videos
Allegiant Stadium roof continues to be key feature - Video
On Tuesday, the Las Vegas Review-Journal was given an updated tour of Allegiant Stadium. Seen on the tour, on the northeastern corner of the roof, was a tiny section of what eventually will be a 7-acre translucent plastic polymer roof.
Allegiant Stadium will undoubtedly be Las Vegas centerpiece - Video
As Allegiant Stadium readies to become home to the Raiders, it's no doubt that the 65,000-seat arena will be a centerpiece to the city of Las Vegas. Vegas Nation host Cassie Soto is joined by Raiders beat writer for the Las Vegas Review-Journal Myles Simmons after his very first tour of the stadium.
Raiders could pursue Tom Brady in free agency - Video
Although the NFL free agency period doesn't open until March 18, many rumors have already been circulating regarding who will be the Raiders quarterback come the 2020-21 season. Vegas Nation's Cassie Soto and Myles Simmons discuss who the Raiders could pick up to replace Derek Carr, including Tom Brady.
Allegiant Stadium video screen will be largest in Las Vegas - Video
Outside of the Fremont Street Experience Viva Vision canopy, Allegiant Stadium's video screen will be the largest sign in the valley, approximately 27,600 square feet in area.
Raiders Potential Picks For 2020 Draft - Video
As the 2020 draft for the NFL approaches the first round of predictions for the Raiders picks have come out. Raiders beat writer Myles Simmons and Vegas Nation host Cassie Soto go over the potential players the Raiders will pick for the draft.
Raiders, Knights license plates favorites among Nevada drivers - Video
Fans of the Raiders have scooped up the team-themed Nevada specialty license plate at a steady pace over the first year of its availability, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for the team’s charity.
Raiders know catching Mahomes is key to winning AFC West - VIDEO
The Las Vegas Raiders know that getting to the top of the AFC West means overcoming Kansas City and its electric quarterback, Patrick Mahomes. Mahomes spoke about how he's handled his early success and his desire to stay in KC for his entire career during a media event during Super Bowl LIV week. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Yesco builds Allegiant Stadium signs - Video
The Las Vegas Raiders and Allegiant Stadium have partnered with Yesco to build signs for the upcoming 2020 season when the team plays their first game. (Nathan Asselin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Raider Lincoln Kennedy talks Las Vegas Raiders, Allegiant Stadium, Super Bowl - Video
Former Raiders offensive lineman Lincoln Kennedy says the 'Imperial March' should play for fans every time they walk into Allegiant Stadium
Goodell on how Las Vegas is embracing Raiders' move, possible Super Bowl for the city
During his Super Bowl LIV news conference, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell spoke on the possibility that Las Vegas becomes a host city for a future Super Bowl and how he feels the city will embrace the Raiders in the coming season. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Raiders have 12th and 19th draft picks, what did other teams do with those spots? - Video
The Las Vegas Raiders own the 12th and 19th overall draft picks for the 2020 NFL Draft. Las Vegas Review-Journal host Cassie Soto and Raiders beat writer Myles Simmons discuss what NFL teams with those same picks have done in previous years and what the Raiders are likely to do when on the clock.
Bird's eye view of Raiders facilities - Video
The Las Vegas Review-Journal's Mick Akers took a helicopter tour over Allegiant Stadium and the Raiders Henderson headquarters.
The Las Vegas Raiders give back - VIDEO
The Raiders are not even in Las Vegas yet but are already making a big impact on the community, giving out hundreds of hygiene kits to local vets and pledging $500,000 to eliminate school lunch debt in Nevada. (Le'Andre Fox and Renee Summerour/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Raiders and MGM Resorts announce partnership - VIDEO
MGM Resorts International and the Las Vegas Raiders announced their partnership Thursday morning, Jan. 23, 2020. MGM Resorts has been named the official gaming partner of the Raiders. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Raiders help pack over 500 hygiene kits for local veterans - Video
The Las Vegas Raiders are continuing to make an impact in the Las Vegas community, this time helping pack over 500 hygiene kits for local veterans. Raiders alumni in attendance included Jim Plunkett and Darren McFadden.
Derek Carr on the Raiders' Official Las Vegas Announcement - VIDEO
Raiders quarterback Derek Carr reacts to the team's official rebrand to the Las Vegas Raiders after the announcement was made Wednesday afternoon.
Las Vegas Raiders React To Name Change - Video
The newly named Las Vegas Raiders react to the name change with the move to the city and how the fans are embracing the team's move.
Las Vegas Raiders official name change - Video
The Las Vegas Raiders official name change came on Wednesday, Jan. 22 with Allegiant Stadium as the backdrop for the announcement. Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr says he can't wait to bring his new city a championship and is excited to get to work.
Raiders officially Las Vegas Raiders
The Raiders announced that they will officially be known as the Las Vegas Raiders on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020 at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.
2020 NFL Draft plans announced - Video
NFL and tourism representatives have announced the plan for the 2020 NFL Draft in Las Vegas, an event expected to be one of the biggest events in city history. Las Vegas Review-Journal's Cassie Soto and Mick Akers discuss the details, including staging areas and road closures.
Raiders Serve Lunch at Jack Dailey Elementary - VIDEO
On Tuesday, Raiders fullback Alec Ingold and tight end Darren Waller visited Jack Dailey Elementary to serve lunch and interact with the students (Le'Andre Fox/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
NFL 2020 Draft Announcement - Video
The city of Las Vegas and the NFL have announced their plans to host the 2020 NFL draft announcement including multiple locations on the strip and a stage at the Bellagio fountains.
Jon Gruden Tours Allegiant Stadium - VIDEO
Raiders head coach Jon Gruden toured the team's new home Allegiant Stadium for the first time.
Dana White fuels rumors of Tom Brady to Las Vegas Raiders - VIDEO
UFC president Dana White believes there is a real possibility he will be watching his good friend Tom Brady taking snaps for the Las Vegas Raiders from White’s suite at Allegiant Stadium next season. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
NFL’s Roger Goodell says Las Vegas could be Super Bowl City - Video
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Friday morning that Las Vegas has everything a city needs to host a Super Bowl, and more.
Allegiant Stadium Set to Open on Time - VIDEO
The Las Vegas Stadium Authority board was informed during their meeting on Thursday that Allegiant Stadium will be completed on time.
Conor McGregor says he'd be honored to be the first to fight at Allegiant Stadium
;
Raiders PSLs sold out
Raiders personal seat licenses for Allegiant Stadium have sold out. (Mick Akers/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Josh Jacobs Named PFWA's Offensive Rookie of the Year - VIDEO
On Tuesday, Raiders running back Josh Jacobs was named Offensive Rookie of the Year by the Pro Football Writers of America. (Le'Andre Fox/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Allegiant Stadium roof completion date pushed back yet again - Video
Allegiant Stadium's roof, a signature feature of the building, was expected to be installed by fall but is now planned for completion by mid-May. Las Vegas Review-Journal host Cassie Soto discusses the set back with business writer and stadium insider Rick Velotta.
CES 2020: 5G could enhance fan engagement in Allegiant Stadium - Video
The integration of 5G could help enhance fan engagement at Allegiant Stadium, the home of the future Las Vegas Raiders.
Raiders Sign Richie Incognito to Contract Extension, Hope to create Continuity - VIDEO
The Raiders announced that they signed guard Richie Incognito to a contract extension, hoping to create some continuity on a team that had so much turnover this past season.
Raiders excited for the Vegas transition - VIDEO
Raiders head coach Jon Gruden said Monday that the team is excited for the move from Oakland to Las Vegas. The team will hold their offseason programs in Oakland and Napa before officially debuting as the Las Vegas Raiders next season.
Raiders foundation set for move to Vegas - VIDEO
While the season may not have gone as the team would have liked, the Raiders understand that they have a solid foundation for their new home. (Le'Andre Fox/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Raiders roller coaster season ends with a tough loss in Denver - VIDEO
The Raiders lost to the Broncos after a failed 2-pt conversion and finish their up-and-down season 7-9.
Raiders lose final game, end season 7-9
The Raiders lost their final game as the "Oakland Raiders," to the Denver Broncos 16-15. They end their season at seven wins and nine losses.
Roger Goodell tours Allegiant Stadium
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell toured $2 billion Allegiant Stadium and called Las Vegas a "Super Bowl city" on Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019.
THE LATEST