Burst - First step/early jump off the ball varies from really good to crazy good at times. Reaction to snap is terrific, but frustratingly does not carry that initial burst into his second and third steps, allowing the tackle to recover and protect the edge. Won't threaten the edge with pure speed, relies on his hands to create a favorable angle to the pocket.
Bend - Adequate bend in the hips at best. Struggles to corner through contact and can get run up the arc even by light contact if he doesn't eliminate his opponent's hands. Will drop the inside shoulder and show some ankle flexibility at times, but generally relies on inside moves or hand work to win as a rusher.
Rush Moves - Deep arsenal of moves that make him tough to figure out off the snap. Ability to attack in a variety of ways coupled with his vision allows him to win as a pass rusher despite athletic limitations. Cross chops, rips, inside swims, stutter-steps and long arms are all arrows in his quiver. Powerful hands, has clubbed and bull rushed offensive linemen aside to get to the quarterback.
Counters - Ability to read pass sets is key to his game. Sets up offensive linemen with the speed rush before winning back across their face inside. Good timing and suddenness to his inside counters. Spin is tight and hasn't been a super successful move for him, despite knowing when to use it.
Run Defense - Incredibly stout at the point of attack. Does not get pushed around, initially sets the edge strong with both hands inside his opponent's chest, utilizing full arm extension to keep his frame clean. Allows for easy shed when his technique is right. Can get caught peaking inside as an edge setter and has attempted some aggressive backdoor maneuvers against outside zone, which he probably isn't athletic enough to get away with a lot in the NFL.
Lateral Mobility - Dropped into coverage on occasion for Clemson, playing in flat zones only. Average lateral mobility when flat-footed in space, but plays on his toes as a rusher and maps out his inside counters on the move, allowing him to cross the tackle's face just fine.
Mental Processing/Vision - Outstanding vision as a pass rusher, recognizes oversets and attacks them quickly. Eyes on the quarterback to find the fastest path to the pocket. Steps down when unblocked and finds pullers. Doesn't bite too early on play-action rollouts, keeps edge contain.
Tackling/Finishing - Big tackle radius to consistently get opponents on the ground. Forced five fumbles over the past two years and was centimeters away from a few others. Forceful hitter when given the chance. Ability to finish in space against more athletic ball carriers is a slight concern.
Competitive Toughness - Elite competitor who takes no plays off. High-energy in all phases, vocal and emotional locker room leader. Physicality and toughness will not be questioned.
Athleticism/Size - Pro-ready build with excellent length. Decent athlete, but doesn't have the flexibility and or speed you would like to see in an edge rusher.
BEST TRAIT - Pass Rush Moves
WORST TRAIT - Bend
RED FLAGS - None
A high floor prospect with a low ceiling, Clelin Ferrell has been productive for three seasons on one of the best defenses in college football, largely due to his array of pass rush moves and steady run defense. He can beat an offensive lineman in many ways, and should be an early three-down starter at defensive end in the NFL. Also, I wouldn't rule out him being able to kick inside on long/late downs for a team that wants to get three quality edge rushers on the field.
Having said that, Ferrell's athletic limitations will limit his scheme fit a little bit for teams that like to drop their edges, as well as inhibit his ability to win on the outside edge track as a pass rusher. I don't think I've ever scouted an edge with second and third steps as bad as Ferrell's when compared to how good his initial burst off the ball is. His lack of speed and bend will probably keep him from hitting first round-level numbers (double-digit sacks) on a seasonal basis, but Ferrell can help an NFL defense right away and provide a strong leadership presence in the locker room.