Raiders Pick Clelin Ferrell No. 4 in 2019 NFL Draft, and Twitter Is Stunned

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistApril 26, 2019

SANTA CLARA, CA - JANUARY 07:  Clelin Ferrell #99 of the Clemson Tigers react against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the CFP National Championship presented by AT&T at Levi's Stadium on January 7, 2019 in Santa Clara, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The Oakland Raiders pulled off the first big surprise of Thursday's NFL draft by selecting former Clemson Tigers defensive end Clelin Ferrell with the fourth overall pick. 

Oakland Raiders @Raiders

Your newest Raider. With the 4th pick in the 2019 #NFLDraft, we have selected Clelin Ferrell from @ClemsonFB. https://t.co/QUPkpsj8Rt

Bleacher Report draft expert Matt Miller had Ferrell as the No. 23 overall prospect in this year's class. 

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Raiders used the No. 4 pick to draft Clelin Ferrell https://t.co/ZUPZaXULAD

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Oakland is CONFUSED https://t.co/v2Im5lnwb1

As noted by NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the Raiders said they would have a surprise in store:

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

At No. 4, the first of their three first-rounders, the #Raiders and new GM Mike Mayock take #Clemson DE Clelin Ferrell. FOR REAL. They said it would be a surprise...

The general reaction across social media was to acknowledge that Ferrell is talented but that using the No. 4 overall pick on him was a reach:

Ralph Vacchiano @RVacchianoSNY

Raiders select Clemson DE Clelin Ferrell at 4 ... destroying mock drafts everywhere and proving the Raiders are the Raiders no matter who is in charge. https://t.co/tfoo7TVOFN

Pat Forde @YahooForde

Leave it to the Raiders to upset the apple cart. But: Clelin Ferrell was the most productive of all the studs on the Clemson D-line this past season.

Vic Tafur @VicTafur

#Raiders do take a DL at No. 4, but it's Clelin Ferrell. A reach but he is a pass rusher.

Stewart Mandel @slmandel

Stay weird, Raiders. (Clelin Ferrell is awesome though.)

Jimmy Kempski @JimmyKempski

Clelin Ferrell? If you like him that much, trade back. Oof.

Armando Salguero @ArmandoSalguero

Clelin Ferrell to the Raiders at No. 4 overall is a surprise. Way higher than most expected.

Jamison Hensley @jamisonhensley

Some thought Clemson pass rusher Clelin Ferrell would be available when the Ravens were on the clock at No. 22. Instead, Ferrell is the fourth player taken in this year's draft.

Ben Volin @BenVolin

Literally no one had Clellin Ferrell going 4th

Michael David Smith @MichaelDavSmith

Mayock and Gruden sent the scouts home because they didn't want anyone around to laugh at them when they made the pick.

Ferrell put himself in position to come off the board early in the draft thanks to an impressive collegiate career. The 6'4", 264-pound lineman piled up 165 total tackles, 50.5 tackles for losses, 27 sacks and five forced fumbles since 2016.

He is coming off a season that saw him earn first-team All-American honors and the ACC Defensive Player of the Year award, as well as the Ted Hendricks Award, given to the nation's top defensive end.

Those accolades came after the Clemson captain recorded 55 total tackles, 20.0 tackles for loss, a career-high 11.5 sacks and three forced fumbles.

Meanwhile, his Tigers became the first team in more than a century to go 15-0 on their way to a second national championship in three seasons.

Ferrell was also an All-American as a redshirt sophomore and a finalist for the Ted Hendricks Award in 2017. Per Clemson's official website, he is the program's first two-time, first-team AP All-American since 1981-82 (Terry Kinard).

Ferrell's skill set figured to allow him to fit in anywhere he landed. The Raiders, though, liked him more than anyone could have known, especially since they had two other first-round picks at Nos. 24 and 27, where he might have fallen. 

Adding a lineman of Ferrell's caliber should only help a pass rush that ranked last in sacks a season ago with 13. That's fewer than half of the next-closest teams' totals, as the New York Giants and New England Patriots each had 30.

Of course, those struggles come after Jon Gruden and Co. traded 2016 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Khalil Mack before the season. Mack (12.5) nearly outsacked the Raiders by himself.

Rookie defensive tackle Maurice Hurst led Oakland with four sacks, and only four Raiders defenders recorded multiple sacks. As a result, upgrading the pass rush was a top priority.


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