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Clemson DE Clelin Ferrell would be an immediate upgrade for the Giants defense

Clemson’s Clelin Ferrell might not be an ideal fit, but he would be a Day 1 starter for the Giants

NCAA Football: College Football Playoff National Championship-Clemson vs Alabama Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

There is good news and bad news for the New York Giants defense. The bad news is that they need help, and a “ifs” to break their way, at the most important position on the defense -- pass rusher. But the good news is that the 2019 NFL Draft happens to be a phenomenal one for pass rushers.

The Giants hold both the sixth and seventeenth picks in the first round, which gives them options and flexibility in how they approach their draft. It is entirely possible -- perhaps even likely -- that an elite prospect will fall to the Giants at at sixth overall. However, they might opt to address another position there, such as quarterback. If they do, they could look to their second first round pick to try and fill the hole at pass rusher.

About best case scenario the Giants could hope for would be for Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell to fall to them there.



  • Great length and size for an NFL EDGE.
  • Very good hand usage.
  • Uses his length to create space.
  • Good first step.
  • Shows a variety of pass rush moves.
  • Usually approaches his rushes with a plan.
  • Strong awareness of the play.
  • Stout in the run game.
  • Consistently productive.


  • Doesn’t appear comfortable in space.
  • Lateral agility is only average.
  • Suffered an ACL tear in 2014.

Prospect Video

What They’re Saying

“A high floor prospect with a low ceiling, Clelin Ferrell has been productive for three seasons on one of the best defenses in college football, largely due to his array of pass rush moves and steady run defense. He can beat an offensive lineman in many ways, and should be an early three-down starter at defensive end in the NFL. Also, I wouldn’t rule out him being able to kick inside on long/late downs for a team that wants to get three quality edge rushers on the field.

Having said that, Ferrell’s athletic limitations will limit his scheme fit a little bit for teams that like to drop their edges, as well as inhibit his ability to win on the outside edge track as a pass rusher. I don’t think I’ve ever scouted an edge with second and third steps as bad as Ferrell’s when compared to how good his initial burst off the ball is. His lack of speed and bend will probably keep him from hitting first round-level numbers (double-digit sacks) on a seasonal basis, but Ferrell can help an NFL defense right away and provide a strong leadership presence in the locker room.”

- Jon Ledyard (The Draft Network - Scouting Report)

Does He Fit The Giants?

Whether or not Ferrell fits with the Giants’ defense is a bit of a loaded question and depends more on what the Giants want from their EDGE defenders. If they want them going downhill on nearly every rush, then the 6-foot-4 3/8, 264-pound Ferrell should be able to transition to the position well enough. There are enough similarities between a 4-3 defense and a 1-gap 3-4 front that his position would basically be the same in both alignments.

If the Giants want a player who can help drop into coverage and assist in disguising blitzes, they might want to look elsewhere.

As a prospect, independent of scheme, it is difficult to find much wrong in Ferrell’s game. He has a good first step and is one of the most polished pass rushers -- defenders -- in the entire draft when it comes to using his technique. Ferrell seems to approach every rep with a plan of how to attack the offense, and generally executes that plan well. He has fantastic hand usage, constantly battling for leverage and to keep offensive linemen from even being able to think about locking in on him, then uses his length well to extend, create space, and finish his rush. Ferrell might not have the athletic upside of some of the other pass rushers in this class, but he has matches that with a high floor thanks to solid athleticism and his polished technique.

Ferrell might have been one of the first defenders off the board in many drafts, but the depth of talent at the position this year likely means that while Ferrell might become a solid value in the middle of the first round.