The 2021 NFL season will be an important one for former Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell.
Entering his third year in the league after being drafted by the Las Vegas Raiders with a top-five pick in 2019, Ferrell is looking to take the next step in his career and become a dominant player after not putting up the stats he would have liked to this point.
Ferrell knows he has untapped potential and has proof that he can be one of the NFL’s top edge rushers.
“I think the biggest thing for me, in the big scheme of things, is not growing weary,” Ferrell told reporters Wednesday. “I think the number one thing is I’ve got tape of me dominating games, I’ve got practice film of me killing it in practice, and like for a lot of people, the results are going to come.”
Through 26 games over his first two seasons in the NFL, Ferrell has totaled 59 tackles (36 solo), 11 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, 18 quarterback hits and eight passes defensed. Last season, he logged only two sacks while having to sit out two games after contracting COVID-19 and then missing the final three games due to a shoulder injury.
“I’ve got stats, but they’re not the dominant stats that everybody wants to see from myself,” he said, “because they know I can get them.”
When the Raiders took Ferrell No. 4 overall in the 2019 NFL Draft, he had just left Clemson as only the second two-time, first-team AP All-American in school history and ranked tied for fourth on the program’s all-time career sack list with 27.
Ferrell admits his lack of production on paper in the NFL so far has been frustrating at times, but as he gets ready for what will be a pivotal season in his career – the Raiders will have to make a decision on his fifth-year option next spring – Ferrell is just trying to stay patient and disciplined as he works toward what he hopes will be his breakout year.
“At times it does get tough because you’re like, ‘Dang, man, I just want to have the numbers. I’m putting the work in every day,’” he said. “But I think it’s me staying disciplined, staying true to myself, not trying to be outside of myself. Like, I know who I am as a player, and the number one thing is I know it’s going to pay off. So, just staying disciplined and being myself every single day, being the same person every single day regardless of what anybody has to say, regardless of the circumstances. Just come in, work hard and try to get this team to a Super Bowl.”
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