With a large majority of the Ravens’ fan base clamoring for a wide receiver to be General Manager Eric DeCosta’s first draft pick on Thursday night, a certain player has failed to receive his deserved attention. Clemson’s Clelin Ferrell is a prospect that isn’t talked about enough as an ideal fit for Baltimore.
With the losses of Terrell Suggs and Za’Darius Smith this offseason, the Ravens are left with uncertainty at outside linebacker. Matt Judon has proven to be a solid starter as he enters his fourth season, but who will line up across from him? Tyus Bowser and Tim Williams are figured to have larger roles in year three, but neither has gained the trust of the coaching staff to earn a starting role yet. This is where Ferrell would make a day-one impact.
Although Ferrell isn’t as athletically gifted as Florida State’s Brian Burns or Michigan’s Rashan Gary, he is possibly more NFL ready than both of them. In addition to getting to the quarterback, Ferrell is stout against the run, which is something that will be greatly appreciated after the loss of Suggs on the edge. Everything about Ferrell screams solid rookie producer, something Baltimore’s defense needs this season to avoid a big drop off in production from a season ago.
It’s unclear exactly how high Ferrell could go, however. Several teams just ahead of the Ravens need edge rushers, including the Falcons, Panthers, Titans, Giants, and Seahawks. Ferrell is an enticing option for any team picking in the mid-to-late first round, so it’s very possible that he isn’t even available for Baltimore at 22. If the Ravens really covet him, they could trade up ahead of one of the aforementioned teams to ensure they land their guy. It seems highly unlikely that DeCosta wants to trade up in the first round though, especially for a player that doesn’t seem to have immediate game-breaking potential.
Wide receivers, such as Ole Miss receivers D.K. Metcalf or A.J. Brown, may be the sexy option in the first round, but some fans seem to undermine the effect of losing Suggs and Smith. The time to replace the great Suggs is here and selecting the franchises first first-round edge rusher since Suggs himself is a good way to start. Ferrell fits the definition of “play like a Raven” with his work ethic and hard-nosed play style on the field. Clelin is one of the safer picks DeCosta could make.