The Oakland Raiders were set to surprise with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2019 draft, and they’ve now acknowledged Clelin Ferrell was a reach.
Firing scouts and barring them from the draft room was odd, but that kind of thing is par for the course for the Oakland Raiders with Jon Gruden running the show. Reports of a surprise with their first first-round pick came to fruition, as they took Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell No. 4 overall.
Via his Football Morning In America column, Peter King indicated the Raiders wanted to trade down from No. 4 but the phone never rang. The apparent dream scenario for Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock was the Miami Dolphins calling with an offer a first-round pick next year, and Ferrell still being available with a move down to No. 13.
But the details King added show just the sort of questions everyone has regarding Gruden as a personnel evaluator, and Mayock’s likely unwillingness to go against that as the toe-the-line general manager in regard to who the pick would be at No. 4.
So they stayed there and picked a solid guy who won’t be the edge-rusher Josh Allen or Brian Burns will be; Gruden and defensive coordinator Paul Guenther will take his leadership and practice habits and edge-setting and hope he can be an eight to 12-sack guy. No guarantee though. Ferrell at 13, with an extra first-rounder from 2020, would have been the dream; Ferrell at four, with no extra compensation, was acceptable.
Practice habits and leadership certainly have a place, but the Raiders easily let it out there that they chose an inferior player in Ferrell. Josh Allen went No. 7 overall to the Jacksonville Jaguars and Brian Burns went No. 16 to the Carolina Panthers. There were no known character or major durability concerns to turn the Raiders away so easily, if they simply had Allen and/or Burns higher than Ferrell on their draft board.
Maybe the input of others, namely those who had been on the ground scouting players, would have helped the Raiders favor superior talent over harder to quantify intangibles as the No.1 reason to take Ferrell. Time will tell if they were right, but allowing such open access to someone like King has easily added another point of criticism for the Gruden-Mayock regime.