Clelin Ferrell now enters contract year hoping ability to be ‘diverse’ can reverse fortunes

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It’s safe to say the first three years of Clelin Ferrell’s career has not gone as he hoped or the Raiders expected. The former 4th overall pick today learned the team has opted not to pick up his fifth year option, which means he is now entering a contract year.

While this is not good news for Ferrell, it’s also an opportunity.

With a new staff in place, particularly with new defensive coordinator Patrick Graham, Ferrell will have a chance to turn his career around and earn a second contract. Whether from the Raiders or another team.

It’s been a few weeks now since the players met their new coaching staff and thus began getting a good idea of what is expected of them. I asked Ferrell this week what his role will be, and he suggested that his value in the new scheme will be in his ability to play multiple positions.

“That’s the best thing, when you understand someone like a Patrick Graham or Josh McDaniels, you got to understand [they’re] very, very detailed in what they do. In everything. How they pick their players and who they put on the field. So, everyone has a role that they want to do,” said Ferrell. “I think for me I can be very, very diverse. So, whether that’s playing inside or whether that’s playing linebacker, whether that’s, shoot, somebody went down last year and I had to start on punt team. It’s just a difference, but it doesn’t really matter to me. At the end of the day, I got drafted here and I come from a place where it’s all about somebody working toward a common goal.”

The previous staff tried moving Ferrell around a bit to find ways to get him on the field and get the most out of him. While the new staff has eschewed the idea that they will be choosing between a 4-3 or a 3-4, most indications are that they lean more toward 3-4.

Ferrell’s suggestion that he could play linebacker could also be an indication of more of a 3-4 base, simply because outside linebackers in a 3-4 rush the passer a lot and he is absolutely not and off-ball linebacker. If anything, his best fit would seem to be as a 5-tech defensive end which would most often not be rushing the edge, where he has not been a strength for him.

It is certainly possible Ferrell could rise up and play his best football this season and earn a payday next offseason. Just as players can benefit from a change of scenery, they can also benefit from a change in scheme, coaching, or usage. Ferrell and Graham will have this season to try and find that sweet spot. Or, perhaps, spots as it were.