Raiders News: Jon Gruden Believes 2020 Will Be Breakout Season For Clelin Ferrell

The Oakland Raiders had very high hopes when selecting Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Ferrell was projected to go late in the first round, so many felt that it was a reach for the Raiders to take him fourth.

So far, it is still too soon to say whether the pick was a good one or not. Ferrell had an up-and-down rookie season, but his counterpart Maxx Crosby played better in nearly every facet. Ferrell is by no means a bust as he seemed to become more comfortable with every passing game, but still clearly has much to learn.

After Year 1, that is roughly where head coach Jon Gruden lies on Ferrell. According to Matthew Kawahara of the San Francisco Chronicle, Gruden is hopeful that 2020 will be an even better year for the young defensive end:

Gruden on Clelin Ferrell’s season: “I think it was OK. I think he played pretty good.” Reiterated #Raiders used Ferrell inside some. “Next year when he becomes more of a full-time defensive end, acclimated to the scheme better, I think he’ll show even more and more improvement.”

— Matt Kawahara (@matthewkawahara) December 30, 2019

Ferrell certainly had a somewhat slow year, having 38 total tackles and just 4.5 sacks. His final year at Clemson was much better as he finished with 55 total tackles, 20 tackles for loss and 11.5 sacks, albeit against worse competition at the collegiate level.

As previously mentioned, it is nice to see that Crosby has been able to pick up any slack that Ferrell might have dropped. Crosby had the second-most sacks of any rookie this season, finishing with 10, just a half of a sack behind Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Josh Allen. Crosby also had the most solo tackles of any rookie defensive linemen with 35.

The self-proclaimed “Salt and Peppa” duo of Crosby and Ferrell sure has grand heights set for themselves. They have supported and worked with each other throughout the season and have made a brotherhood on the line. Hopefully, they both improve upon their rookie seasons and come out even stronger in 2020.

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