NFL Draft Buyer Beware: Clelin Ferrell
Why should NFL teams be wary of spending an early draft pick on Clelin Ferrell?
Clelin Ferrell, the 6’5” 260 lbs edge rusher from Clemson, is a definite first round draft pick that could crack the top 10 due to his ability to pressure the passer and his discipline in filling gaps in the run game. Nevertheless, research has shown that he has a significant red flag: torn ACL in 2014.
One study identified that players that have had an ACL tear and undergone a reconstruction (ACLR) played in significantly fewer NFL games compared to healthy athletes. Furthermore, they specifically identified that defensive linemen with this injury had an overall decreased participation in the NFL. Another study got even more specific and determined that athletes with an ACLR had significantly lower early-career NFL player metrics, including fewer games started, fewer games played, and a lower snap percentage, compared to uninjured controls. Again, this study identified defensive linemen and linebackers as one of the most affected position in addition to defensive backs.
Ferrell is far removed from his ACL injury but NFL teams should still take it into account when making a decision on an edge rusher. This year’s draft class is extremely deep with edge rushers and many of them align with or exceed Ferrell’s physical abilities. Based on these research articles, teams might want to consider these other options that do not have any significant red flag injuries as an alternative.
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