1. Sports
  2. /
  3. Bucs

NFL draft profile: Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell

Five questions for the former Tigers pass rusher.
Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell (99) works against Notre Dame offensive lineman Liam Eichenberg (74) during the NCAA Cotton Bowl semi-final playoff football game, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2018, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Roger Steinman)
Published Apr. 16

TAMPA — Clelin Ferrell has everything you would want in a young edge pass rusher. Good size at 6-foot-4, 262 pounds with long arms that stretch more than 34 inches. He also has a quick first step off the football. The first-team all-ACC selection also was highly effective at Clemson, which has produced a good defensive lineman or two.

Ferrell improved each season for the Tigers and last year totaled 53 tackles, 19.5 tackles for loss, 11.5 sacks and three forced fumbles in helping Clemson win the national championship. Only 21, Ferrell has a long and promising career ahead in the NFL as a first-round pick.

The only question is where does he rank with so much first-round defensive line talent, including his teammate, defensive tackle Christian Wilkins?

What the Bucs are thinking

At No. 5, the Bucs should get a better player than Ferrell. Because the draft is loaded with defensive talent, players such as Alabama’s Quinnen Williams, Ohio State’s Nick Bosa, Kentucky’s Josh Allen, Houston’s Ed Oliver and perhaps Mississippi State’s Montez Sweat may all go ahead of Ferrell.

However, should the Bucs get an offer they can’t refuse to trade down to somewhere in the middle of the first round, maybe Ferrell would be in play. Ferrell has spent significant time with the Bucs during the draft process.

Five questions for Clelin Ferrell

How did having so much talent around at Clemson prepare you?

“It was huge because obviously we push each other to a level that I can’t really explain in words. It was truly a blessing to go through it with those guys because there’s some things we did off the field that really prepared us and made us better as far as our careers. And also, just the aspect of there’s not a lot of plays to go around out there when you’re playing with guys like that. It really taught me the mentality of not taking any plays off, of learning to really push and fight every single play because if you want to have an impact, you’ve got to scratch and claw with my brothers out there. So it was really, really good. We made it a competition for sure."

RELATED: Join our Bucs Cannon Fodder Facebook group for conversation, polls, story links and more

It’s a very deep class of edge players; what is it about your game that you think could set you apart?

“I just feel like my versatility is something that is very, very important when I feel like you talk about my game. I feel like that has always given me an edge as far as giving me a benefit on the field. Not only just my versatility as a player — I can play defensive end, I played some defensive tackle this past year, 3 technique. I’ve also dropped into coverage, outside linebacker. But not only just doing those things, but I feel like I’ve done them at consistently a high level. That’s always given me a bit of confidence as far as my play. And I’ve done it against the best competition playing at Clemson, so that was a blessing as well.”

With so many Clemson D-linemen at the combine, do you pay attention to what happens to the other guys in terms of the draft?

“Nah, it doesn’t really matter. I don’t pay attention to where everybody says I’m going to go. It doesn’t really matter. I know what my guys are capable of. And the same when we were at Clemson, people doubted us, people doubted what they feel like our ability as a team and me and these other players could do, I just know what those things are something that we can’t control. So I really can’t focus on that. You really have no idea until draft day.”

RELATED: Sign up for our Bucs Red Zone email newsletter to get Bucs news delivered daily to your inbox

What was it like growing up with military parents?

“That was something that was a gift and a curse for me. My mom, she served in Desert Storm. My father was in Vietnam; he passed away when I was 13. And that was really, really big for me because they loved the aspect of just integrity. They always demanded that I did the right things, went about my business the right way and did it in a manner where it was respectful. They were really big on not hanging around the wrong people. They always talked to me about making sure that I keep the right company. So it was just a lot of different things that they drew from the military and brought into my life.”

What does it feel like to be part of such a great D-line draft class?

“It means the world. Obviously there’s a lot of great players here, a lot of great players on the defensive line. For me, I’m just happy to be considered one of them. That’s all that really matters. I obviously have to set high expectations for myself, but I can’t get caught up in everything that comes with it. I kind of experienced the same thing at Clemson. People were trying to call the greatest defensive line ever in the history of college football — and I think that we are — but that was something I had to think about after the season. That’s not something you want to focus on right now because if you take your mind away from what’s important — that’s showcasing your talents out here and focusing on the interview process.”


  1. Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill will supplant Marcus Mariota as the starter in Tennessee. JACK DEMPSEY  |  AP
    The Bucs chose Jameis Winston over Mariota in 2015. Now both the No. 1 and No. 2 picks from that draft appear to be at a crossroads.
  2. Former NFL running back Warrick Dunn spends time with new homeowner LaToya Reedy and her son, AnTrez, at 918 43rd St. S. SCOTT KEELER  |  Times
    The retired Tampa Bay Buccaneer running back partnered with Habitat for Humanity and others to give a hardworking nursing assistant and her son the home of their dreams.
  3. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Bobo Wilson (85) during the second half of a preseason game against the Browns on Aug. 23. MARK LOMOGLIO  |  AP
    Wilson muffed two punts Sunday vs. Carolina, losing one. The team also released LB Devante Bond.
  4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Cameron Brate (84) celebrates with quarterback Jameis Winston (3) after making a touchdown catch against the Carolina Panthers during the fourth quarter in London. ALASTAIR GRANT  |  AP
    Journal: Also, the 2015 NFL draft is looking like a bust for quarterbacks. Could the Bucs have taken someone else at No. 1 overall?
  5. We've seen enough sad walks to the locker room. It's time we've reached the tough love portion of our program with Bucs coach Bruce Arians and quarterback Jameis Winston. The Bucs need to stop making excuses when Winston has one of those meltdown games that have become so familiar in Tampa Bay. DIRK SHADD  |  Times
    Stop coddling Jameis Winston. If he’s playing himself out of Tampa Bay, the Bucs should let him know now. | John Romano
  6. Former Plant High star Aaron Murray will fulfill a dream when he steps onto the Raymond James Stadium field as a Tampa Bay Viper. Tampa Bay Vipers
    Murray won a state title in 2008, started for four seasons at Georgia and played briefly in the NFL.
  7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) warms up before an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant) ALASTAIR GRANT  |  AP
    Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: What else went wrong in London, ranking the Rays, Lightning worries, Gators’ SEC title hopes.
  8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) runs onto the field to play against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday in London. TIM IRELAND  |  AP
    Martin Fennelly: Coach Bruce Arians may not be worried after six games, but history says his optimism is misplaced.
  9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians walks on the field before Sunday's game against the Carolina Panthers in London. ALASTAIR GRANT  |  AP
    And that’s especially true for turnover-prone Jameis Winston, who will remain the starter when Tampa Bay next takes the field Oct. 27 vs. the Titans.
  10. Since he entered the NFL in 2015, Jameis Winston has been responsible for a league-high 87 giveaways, including six Sunday. JEFF HAYNES  |  Associated Press
    Sunday was a tough day for the players taken at the top of the 2015 NFL draft. The Titans at least are realizing what the Bucs are denying: They have a quarterback problem.