Raiders bring in championship pedigree with Ferrell and Jacobs among 3 first-rounders

Recapping the top 10 picks in the NFL Draft

Catch up on the top ten picks from the first round of the NFL Draft.
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Catch up on the top ten picks from the first round of the NFL Draft.

The newest member of the Raider Nation knows what it takes to be a winner.

Clelin Ferrell was a starter on Clemson teams that won NCAA national championships in the 2016 and 2018 seasons, and was honored with the Ted Hendricks Award, named after the Pro Football Hall of Fame player who spent the last nine of his 15 NFL seasons with the Raiders and given to college football’s best defensive end.

Oakland used the No. 4 pick in the first round of Thursday’s NFL Draft to select Ferrell, who should help boost the team’s pass rush. The Raiders had a league-low 13 sacks last season, which was 17 fewer than the second-worst team. Ferrell had 11 1/2 sacks as a redshirt junior and was a first-team All-America selection.

Some people seemed surprised Ferrell went so high. In mock drafts on, analysts had him between 13th and 25th.

“I’d be lying to you if I said I wasn’t surprised,” Ferrell told The Associated Press. “This was a really, really long process for me. I don’t pay attention to the mock drafts. Those things are stupid. Just talking to my agent, we didn’t know what to expect going in. But me personally, I always felt like I was going to be a Raider. I had such a good relationship and good meetings with the Raiders. It was just a great process.”

The Raiders are getting a player calls a “complete defender and steady talent.” According to his draft profile, Ferrell is a “highly productive 4-3 defensive end with prototypical size, length and strength to offer early help against both the run and pass.”

Ferrell is the fifth No. 4 pick in Raiders history. The last two times they had this pick, they took offensive players (Alabama receiver Amari Cooper in 2015 and Arkansas running back Darren McFadden in 2008).

In 1998, Oakland took Michigan defensive back Charles Woodson, who became the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year and had nine Pro Bowl nods in his 18-year career. The Raiders’ first No. 4 pick came in 1961, when they drafted Joe Rutgens, a defensive tackle from Illinois.

Ferrell followed Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray (Arizona Cardinals), Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa (49ers) and Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams (New York Jets), the first three picks in the draft.

Later Thursday, the Raiders used the 24th pick to select Josh Jacobs, a running back out of Alabama. Like Ferrell, Jacobs has been on an NCAA title-winning roster. The Crimson Tide beat Georgia in the 2017 season. In 2018, Jacobs led Alabama with 14 touchdowns (11 rushing, three receiving) while amassing 887 yards from scrimmage.

The Raiders completed their first-round haul by selecting Mississippi State safety Johnathan Abram. In 13 games last season, he had 99 total tackles, two interceptions, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

This is the second time the Raiders have had three first-round picks in the same draft. They used the sixth, ninth and 25th picks in 1988 to select Notre Dame receiver Tim Brown, Tennessee cornerback Terry McDaniel and Illinois defensive lineman Scott Davis.

In all, there have been 12 instances when teams have had three opening-round selections.

Clelin Ferrell

Age: 21

Position: Defensive end

Height/weight: 6-foot-4, 264 pounds

Drafted: First round, No. 4 overall, Oakland Raiders

College: Clemson

Skinny: Ferrell is a two-time all-Atlantic Coast Conference star who helped Clemson win two national championships in three seasons. The three-year starter had 11 1/2 sacks as a redshirt junior, a total that’s 1 1/2 less than what the Raiders had as a team last season. He was called by a “complete defender and a steady talent” who can help lead a 4-3 unit in the NFL.

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Noel Harris is a sports reporter for The Sacramento Bee, with a focus on the Kings. He’s been in professional journalism for more than 18 years. His roles have included sports editor at The Modesto Bee and news editor at two smaller California newspapers, as well as online producer and copy editor.