The San Francisco 49ers will be watching a number of top-quality NFL Draft prospects in the 2019 College Football Playoff Championship game. And Clemson’s Clelin Ferrell is one of them.
The 2019 College Football Playoff Championship game between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Clemson Tigers might as well be a Round 1 NFL Draft preview for all 32 teams across the league.
It’s the same for the San Francisco 49ers, too, who’ll benefit from watching NCAA’s football finale from the comforts of Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.
There are more than a few players who could easily garner the interest of Niners general manager John Lynch. And with both Alabama and Clemson boasting deep defensive rosters, plus San Francisco needing all sorts of defensive help, one can see how a top-performing defensive prospect should grab Lynch’s attention.
One such player is Clemson EDGE Clelin Ferrell.
Earlier in 2018, Ferrell was widely viewed as a top-five prospect in an already deep pass-rushing class. His stock dropped slightly towards the end of the year, but that didn’t stop the 6-foot-5, 260-pound junior from setting a collegiate career-high 11.5 sacks and 18.5 tackles for a loss entering Monday’s contest.
The 49ers are in dire need of a quality outside pass-rusher this offseason, particularly after finishing 2018 with 37 sacks — tied for 22nd in the league — and the bulk of those coming from the interior, chiefly from defensive tackle DeForest Buckner.
San Francisco is currently slated to pick at No. 2 overall in April’s NFL Draft. Ferrell might no longer be a shoo-in top-five selection. But as CBS Sports’ Chris Trapasso pointed out, Ferrell likely stays within the top 10.
Perfect scenario for a Niners trade down in the order, landing Ferrell all the while.
Prior to Monday’s contest, Ferrell told reporters he models his game after another prolific 49ers pass-rusher, Aldon Smith, saying:
"I know his career didn’t pan out the way a lot of people wanted, but (he’s) the reason I wear No. 99. I feel like I could be … and I don’t know if anything’s over with [Smith’s career] — that’s still in the works — but I feel like I can be what he should’ve been and where he should be in his career right now."
If Ferrell winds up being anything close to what Smith’s on-field efforts were like early in his time with San Francisco, the Niners may wind up getting an awfully good player if that’s the route they end up taking.
Clemson and Alabama square off on Monday, Jan. 7 at 8 p.m. ET from Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California.