Raiders DC: Clelin Ferrell perfect for their scheme

Many eyebrows raised across the planet when NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced the Oakland Raiders' selection of Clelin Ferrell with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

The Raiders, for their part, were not worried about pre-draft projections that suggested the Clemson defensive end could have been available later in the process. Oakland looked for the right fit, identified their man and grabbed him.

In upgrading the defense, new general manager Mike Mayock and czar Jon Gruden looked for players who fit defensive coordinator Paul Guenther's scheme. The DC believes Ferrell can be as successful as some of the best edge rushers he had during his stint with the Cincinnati Bengals.

"Clelin is exactly what I'm looking for," Guenther said recently, via NBC Sports Bay Area. "That's the kind of guys we had. The Michael Johnson's and the Carlos Dunlap's we had in Cincinnati that are every-down ends, that are big men that can both rush and play the run. So he's exactly what we're looking for."

Playing in Cincinnati, Dunlap is one of the most underrated pass rushers in the NFL. If he wore a star on his helmet, the dude's picture would be on multiple cereal boxes. Despite turning 30, Dunlap still generates boatloads of pressure, earning at least 7.5 sacks each of the past six seasons. The edge rusher owns the most sacks in Bengals history with 72.5 since the league started counting the statistic in 1982 (he would reportedly be second if you went back and counted Eddie Edwards' sacks before that date). Dunlap enjoyed his best seasons under Guenther, earning Pro Bowl bids in 2015 and 2016. Johnson also enjoyed several successful seasons under Guenther and generated 44.5 sacks for his career, though his production has trailed of late.

Needless to say, if Ferrell turns out to be a Dunlap-type edge rusher, the Raiders would be very pleased with the pick.

The rookie brings a toolbox that might not blow scouts away, but is consistently good in every area. Raiders linebacker Vontaze Burfict, a former teammate of Dunlap and Johnson, agrees that the comparisons are apt.

"Oh yeah," Burfict said. "He's a rookie but I swear he's been here like five years. Doesn't act like a rookie at all. He comes in ready to handle business, he's even a leader in the huddle, even just cheering guys up, telling them, 'Let's finish the period off.' And that's a lot coming from a rookie because when I was a rookie I didn't want to say much, I just wanted to go out there and do my job, so coming from him and he's a defensive end and I give him a gap call or whatever type of call I give him, he understands it, so that's huge."

Ferrell's intelligence, consistency and leadership were all reasons the Raiders were comfortable making him a high selection. Perception be damned.

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