In the days since the Raiders used the No. 4 overall pick in the draft to select defensive end Clelin Ferrell, many analysts have questioned the pick.
The Raiders have been accused of taking Ferrell too high – perhaps they could have moved down and still selected him while getting extra picks. Others have said Ferrell won’t make the impact in the NFL that other edge players (selected lower) will.
Yet Raiders general manager Mike Mayock has tuned out all that noise.
He’s spent his time since the three days of the draft arguing that Ferrell, from Clemson, has qualities that will make him a high-impact player on the team, both as a leader and performer.
"He’s a foundation player," Mayock told Albert Breer of Monday Morning Quarterback. "And even more importantly, he’s a three-down defensive end who can stick his hand in the dirt and play on run downs and pass downs. He’s not a guy who’s going to be a designated pass-rusher. He’s in there on every snap. And he’s going to set the tone for us, as far as these young guys are concerned. I couldn’t wait to get to that pick."
Mayock compares Ferrell to defensive end Chris Long, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2008 draft out of Virginia. Long has had a long, productive career, helping two teams (Eagles and Patriots) win Super Bowls while being an all-around contributor and charismatic presence. He says Long always has been a "glue player," an athlete who helps bind a unit, produces and makes those around him better.
"I looked at Ferrell back in September and October, and I watched three or four tapes and at the bottom of my notes I wrote, 'glue/Chris Long.' That’s the kind of guy, to me, who has more value than you can even put a number on. Chris hung in there, ended up in New England, gets a Super Bowl, goes to Philadelphia, gets another. Chris Long’s a glue guy. And I think Cle is also."
Mayock said there were flashier players available at No. 4, but he and head coach Jon Gruden wanted Ferrell.
Said Mayock: "When you talk to the guys at Clemson, they all talk about this kid being the cornerstone of the defense. Everything he does reminds me of what we want in the Raiders."