The Franchise Interview - Clelin Ferell
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The Franchise Interview: Clelin Ferrell – Las Vegas Raiders 


FSM’s Nyshon Zaragoza sat down with the Las Vegas Raiders’ #1 draft pick from 2019 about his first year in the NFL and his experiences with Raider Nation.


What’s shaking? “Look’s like it’s Pepa!” That’s what he calls himself, after telling me that he and Salt (his fellow rookie defensive end Maxx Crosby) needed their own swag on the field. Just under a year ago, the Las Vegas Raiders introduced Clelin Ferrell, standing at 6’4, and weighing 265 pounds (new weight is undisclosed) as their 1st overall pick, and since then, the defensive end has been rocking and rolling on and off the field.


Photo Credit: NBC Sports

Ferrell continues to hustle and grind during his offseason while preparing for his move to Las Vegas. Ferrell posted an Instagram video of him “putting in work” that captioned “Blac loccs on! Feeling Dangerous!!” The video demonstrated foot drills, hand drills, and strengthening skills.

“I’m going to be a different player, and it starts with my mindset,” states, Ferrell. “I want to be a leader on this team and get us to a Super Bowl. It starts with the D-line. I want to improve my strength, speed and hands to be able to last me the entire season. I’ve been giving this game my all, my entire life, and that’s what I am going to do this season now that I am comfortable in the system.”


Raiders General Manager Mike Mayock and Head Coach Jon Gruden shocked fans and draft experts alike when they picked Ferrell 4th overall in the 2019 NFL Draft. Ferrell finished his first season with 38 tackles, 4.5 Sacks, eight tackles for loss, and eight quarterback hits. Clelin proved his worth as the fourth overall pick on the field and in the locker room, but the transition from college (Clemson) to the pros wasn’t as smooth as he expected.


He had a successful season mastering the Raiders’ defense while being asked to also be a leader in the locker room. Although Ferrell added spice to the Raiders 2019 season, he fumbles in his mind on how he could have done better.


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“My rookie year was a solid one in the eyes of my peers, but to me, it wasn’t up to my standards. I felt like I missed out on a lot of big plays and production, partly from being a rookie” Ferrell continues, “I didn’t know a lot of the common things that happen in this league, and that made me play hesitant at first. I progressed as the season went on and got better and better and had “ok” numbers as a rookie. I feel like I only scratched the surface of my potential and who I will become in the future years.”


Ferrell understands that there is always room for improvement.


While learning the ropes of the NFL, Clelin strives to adjust from college to pro. “My transition wasn’t the smoothest. I’d say because I had just came off from playing in the National Championship at Clemson and I was drained mentally and physically from the toll that college football can have on a person.

I had never been to the west coast before, but I love the Raiders organization. It made me a bit hesitant to really open up at first because it was a bit of a culture shock being new in the NFL, on the west coast, and with a big role in front of me as the season came. I would say that it was the best thing that could have happened to me because I needed the trial and error run to learn how to do things like a pro.”


To be a pro, you have to train your mind to act like one, and that starts with direction. The defensive end who wears #96 took chances in his rookie season. Given the opportunity to connect with his teammates, he gripped leadership skills.


“Even though my first year I wasn’t the most vocal, I did things by the way I worked, took care of my body, and handled myself in the building. That rubbed off on my teammates and the organization. This is what the organization needed. I felt like our locker room in previous years had a losing culture. We had a lot of players that didn’t really know what it meant or cared to ‘respect the Raider seal’ that we wear on our helmet. I feel like we took pride in ‘being a Raider‘ this year and not just ‘playing for the Raiders‘.”

Many players in the locker room didn’t realize that winning on the field doesn’t start on the field, it starts with how you carry yourself off the field, in the facility, and how you take pride in coming there, respecting the shield.


Photo credit: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Growing up in the Southside of Richmond, Virginia, Ferrell started playing football at the age of 9. He is the youngest of 9 children. His parents served in the Military for a total of 46 years, conjoined in the U.S Army. “I thought that the second I graduated high school, I’d join the military because growing up, I didn’t see college as an option for me, even though my mom beat it into me,” says Ferrell. “I knew that I believed what my family did in the military was the most honorable thing, because they themselves are warriors, and I felt I was too.”

“Pepa” has various inspirational idols such as Michael Vick, Allen Iverson, Master P, Lebron, and his dad (RIP). “What motivates me is that I know God has a purpose for my life and I pray that it is to use the thing I love very dearly, football, to affect the lives of a number of different people” states, Clelin “My family looks up to me to inspire the people in my community to help them become better versions of themselves.”


When he isn’t on the field, he enjoys spending time with his family and friends, fishing, dancing, and he has a passion for theatre and music.


Ferrell is preparing for the big move to Las Vegas and has not closed on a house yet. He continues to pursue his search. In the meantime, Clelin strengthens his mind, body, and soul. “The knowledge that you have so much you can get better at, and the fact that I am working on them right now as we speak, gives the biggest thrill,” says Ferrell “The same goes for my team. I know that we showed a lot of potential last season, as we get things back going it’s only one thing on our mind, and that’s dominating.”

Photo Credit: The Raiders

Clelin also encourages young athletes, “To figure out what you love to do, pray about it, and then go do whatever it takes to make sure you never have to question your life. In a sense of your happiness with how you wrote your story for your life. Matthew 17:20 is something I’ve always stuck by.”

Before Raider Nation can watch the team at Allegiant Stadium, fans of the Silver and Black can catch Clelin Ferrell and the rest of the Raiders in the Las Vegas area at the Raiders mandatory minicamp from June 14 to June 16.


“Shhhheeeeeeesh, I can’t wait,” Ferrell says.


-Nyshon Zaragoza – Franchise Sports Media

The Franchise Interview – Clelin Ferrell     The Franchise Interview – Clelin Ferrell     The Franchise Interview – Clelin Ferrell

The Franchise Interview – Clelin Ferrell     The Franchise Interview – Clelin Ferrell     The Franchise Interview – Clelin Ferrell

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