The Raiders used the fourth pick in the draft on Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell in hopes of finding the edge rusher to replace Khalil Mack.
Coach Jon Gruden and first-year general manager Mike Mayock passed up pass rushers rated higher by most analysts like Kentucky’s Josh Allen and Houston’s Ed Oliver to select Ferrell on Thursday night.
The Raiders’ most glaring need was at edge rusher after trading Mack last year to Chicago for a package that included two first-round picks. Oakland finished last in the NFL with 13 sacks in 2019, 17 fewer than the next worst team. Their 95 total pressures, according to SportRadar, also ranked last — 29 fewer than 31st place Tampa Bay.
Ferrell had 11 1/2 sacks last season for the national champion Tigers and finished with 27 sacks in 84 career games. He also had 59 quarterback pressures, according to Sports Info Solutions.
Oakland has been busy this offseason, adding receivers Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams, tackle Trent Brown and several potential starters in the back seven on defense. But they have little in place at edge rusher with Arden Key and Benson Mayowa the top players currently on the roster. Key had just one sack as a rookie, while Mayowa has 13 sacks in 72 career games.
The Raiders have two more first-round picks: No. 24 thanks to last season’s trade that sent Mack to Chicago and the 27th pick after trading receiver Amari Cooper to Dallas.
Barring a trade, the Raiders would be just the fifth team this century to make three first-round picks in the same draft.