The 2019 NFL Draft was a crucial one for the Las Vegas Raiders. Still in Oakland at the time, this draft brought the team cornerstones in Maxx Crosby and Hunter Renfrow and starters Josh Jacobs and Johnathan Abram. But the top pick for the Raiders that year was defensive end Clelin Ferrell, selected fourth overall.
Ferrell hasn’t lived up to the expectations of his draft position, being outplayed by Crosby, a fourth-round pick. But the pair of pass rushers, joining the Raiders as rookies, are incredibly close and maintain a great relationship.
In an interview with Hunter Carpenter of Sports Illustrated, Ferrell spoke about his relationship with Crosby, calling him a special person:
“A lot of the experiences that me and him have had, we got a special relationship. Obviously, that’s been one of my best friends on the team since I came in. I’m pepper, that’s (Maxx) salt, and Chandler [Jones], he’s old spice. I can’t leave out the Hall-of-Famer. There are a lot of things that me and Maxx have experienced together, it’s something that we’ve talked about. He’s a truly special person because I was someone that really saw the highs and lows of him going through that process. So, it’s something that me and him have a special connection on.”
This will be a make-or-break year for Ferrell, who has totaled just eight sacks and 12 tackles for loss in three years. For comparison, Crosby has 25 sacks and 43 tackles for loss over that same time frame and was recently rewarded by the Raiders with a new four-year, $94 million contract.
The fact that Ferrell and Crosby are so close tells a lot about their character. The two have gone through so much in their time in the NFL and continue to support each other in their journeys. Ferrell mentioning Chandler Jones also shows how much of a team player he is, as Jones is someone who will eat into the snaps Ferrell will play.
There is a bond within this defense which hopefully will help propel them. Expectations are high for the Raiders this season, but there are some questions defensively. The pass rush can help, and Ferrell taking a big step would help. His relationship with his fellow pass rushers could help him make good on that draft selection and help the Raiders take another leap up.