The Atlanta Falcons must improve upfront on both sides of the ball. This includes sacking the quarterback more often, as the team finished in the bottom third of the NFL in the category. For this reason we take a look at Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell as our series looking at potential candidates for pick number 14.
Clelin Ferrell is a red-shirt junior defense end, who chose to exercise his option to enter the NFL draft early. The 6’5 260 pound edge rusher out of the University of Clemson, is an accomplished NCAA pass rusher. He along with Dexter Lawrence and Christian Wilkins, is one of three Clemson defensive linemen that are projected to be first round picks in this year’s NFL Draft. The Atlanta Falcons are expected to strongly consider all three players.
Clelin Ferrell was named First Team All American and First Team All ACC in his sophomore and junior seasons. He also claimed the ACC Defensive Player of the Year award in the 2018 season that just passed. Ferrell was named the 2016 Fiesta Bowl defensive MVP, in a 31-0 drubbing of the Ohio State Buckeyes. The win propelled Clemson to the National Title game and their first National Championship since 1981. This past season Ferrell helped the Clemson Tigers claim their second title in three seasons. Both wins came against the powerhouse Alabama Crimson Tide and their legendary head coach Nick Saban.
Clelin Ferrell’s numbers speak for themselves. He had 27 career sacks and 50.5 tackles for a loss, in his three college seasons. He also had 166 total tackles, forced five fumbles and recovered a fumble in his time as a Tiger. In addition he defended five passes, intercepted one pass, and scored a touchdown.
Clelin improved season by season in nearly every statistical category. He started with six sacks and 12.5 tackles for a loss as a red shirt freshman. As a sophomore he increased his totals to 9.5 sacks and 18 tackles for a loss. He also added two forced fumbles. Ferrell took his game to an even higher level this past season. He set new career highs with 11.5 sacks and 20 tackles for a loss. He also increased his forced fumbles to three. Ferrell made tremendous strides as a run defender as well.