Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson
[Editor’s note: BGN user Triumph McCloud originally made this pick but did not submit their explanation. Thanks to JALupowitz for stepping in on short notice and explaining someone else’s selection.]
The Panthers’ 2018 season was a strange one. Ron Rivera’s squad started off 6-2 and appeared to be in real contention in the NFC. Then, a mysterious injury to Cam Newton derailed their season and they ended up going 1-7 down the stretch (their lone victory came in week 17 against the Teddy Bridgewater-led Saints). Ouch.
Assuming Newton’s health, though, it’s hard to find too many weaknesses on this Panthers roster. On offense, they have a dynamic young RB in Christian McCaffrey, a decent offensive line, and a great TE in Greg Olsen with a young player they like behind him in Ian Thomas. Their WR corps is nothing to write home about, but they invested a 1st round pick in D.J. Moore last year, so it seems unlikely that they’ll spend another 1st rounder on the position, despite the departure of Devin Funchess. On defense, the team features a young, aggressive secondary, an excellent LB corps led by Luke Kuechly and Shaq Thompson, and a solid defensive line.
Aside from WR, the Panthers’ main weakness appears to be their pass rush, as aside from Mario Addison (29.5 sacks over the past 3 seasons), the team was relying on a 38 year old Julius Peppers and a platoon of young, largely ineffective players. It’s unclear if Peppers will return for what would be his 18th NFL season, but regardless of what he decides, Mr. Addison could use a running mate. Enter Clemson EDGE rusher Clelin Ferrell.
Clelin Ferrell is a damn good football player. He’s gone slightly under-the-radar in this pre-draft process because he’s not the splashy athlete that Montez Sweat is, but the two were rated pretty similarly by most scouts prior to Sweat’s insane combine. Ferrell’s scouting reports actually remind me a bit of Derek Barnett’s, in that he just straight up makes plays on the football field. But don’t take my word for it; consider what the experts have to say about Ferrell’s game.
From his NFL.com scouting report:
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.
-Lance Zierlein, NFL.com
From his Draft Network scouting report:
Clelin Ferrell projects as a high impact defensive end at the NFL level. Ferrell is physically capable of exploding out of his three point stances but prefers to win with his hands on blockers as compared to relying on speed. His technical prowess, hands and transitional skills as a rusher will allow him to defeat well placed tackles off the edge. An ace run defender, Ferrell is a three down player immediately who should easily step into a starting role.
-Kyle Crabbs, TheDraftNetwork.com
From his Walterfootball.com scouting report:
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.
-Charlie Campbell, Walterfootball.com
There’s some impressive praise for Ferrell, as well as some concerns that he’s not quite explosive enough to duplicate his college production at the next level. Regardless, he is a high-floor prospect and the last consensus first-round EDGE rusher on the board.
Obligatory spider graph:
As an Eagles fan, I would be bummed to see Ferrell go this early, as I think he’d be a great pick-up for the Birds if he falls into the 20’s. This makes a ton of sense for the Panthers, though, as they’re picking up a high-floor prospect at a position of major importance. Ferrell won’t be under pressure to be the best EDGE on the team as he hones his craft playing across from Mario Addison.
The Panthers do have other needs, but the best players available (TE T.J. Hockenson, LB Devin Bush, Jr.) don’t play high impact positions and don’t really fill immediate needs. Ferrell will bring instant impact to Ron Rivera’s defense and help the Panthers once again compete for the NFC South crown.
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2019 BGN Mock Draft Order
1) Cardinals (Philliesandthebees): Kyler Murray
2) 49ers (SakPrescott): Nick Bosa
3) Jets (thealien2696): Quinnen Williams
4) Raiders (SisyphusNoMore): Josh Allen
5) Buccaneers (EAGLESBSU): Montez Sweat
6) Giants (ablesser88): Dwayne Haskins
7) Jaguars (20Safety_Hazards): Jawaan Taylor
8) Lions (89Tremaine): Ed Oliver
9) Bills (drc242): Jonah Williams
10) Broncos (ItownBallers22): Devin White
11) Bengals (Phoenix X Maximus): Cody Ford
12) Packers (Palaniappan K M): Brian Burns
13) Dolphins (wildcatlh): Andre Dillard
14) Falcons (Happy24): Rashan Gary
15) Washington (roberticus01): D.K. Metcalf
16) Panthers (JALupowitz): Clelin Ferrell
17) Giants (KevinDont):
19) Titans (Big Schmoopie):
20) Steelers (J. Wil):
21) Seahawks (NickfoleonDynamite):
22) Ravens (GMinTraining):
23) Texans (EaglesRock94)
24) Raiders (SummersInVA):
25) Eagles (I Need a Username):
26) Colts (Nolo0oo):
27) Raiders (SLC Eagle):
28) Chargers (LBCeaglesFan!):
29) Chiefs (Boxer Madness):
30) Packers (Kephas):
31) Rams (Matthieuck):
32) Patriots (Zett_66):
Now it’s time for you to vote for who YOU think the Panthers should pick in the 2019 BGN Community Consensus Mock Draft.
Who should the Panthers draft at No. 16 overall?
This poll is closed
2019 BGN Community Consensus Mock Draft
1) Cardinals: Kyler Murray
2) 49ers: Nick Bosa
3) Jets: Quinnen Williams
4) Raiders: Josh Allen
5) Buccaneers: Montez Sweat
6) Giants: Dwayne Haskins
7) Jaguars: Jawaan Taylor
8) Lions: Ed Oliver
9) Bills: Jonah Williams
10) Broncos: Devin White
11) Bengals: Devin Bush
12) Packers: T.J. Hockenson
13) Dolphins: Andre Dillard
14) Falcons: Rashan Gary
15) Washington: Drew Lock