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Getty Josh McDaniels of the Las Vegas Raiders.

The Las Vegas Raiders have done plenty of wheeling and dealing this offseason and might not be done yet. Training camp is closing in and there are going to be difficult roster decisions ahead. One interesting player to watch is Clelin Ferrell.

The former No.

4 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft had difficulty carving out a role on the Raiders’ defense last season. Patrick Graham has replaced Gus Bradley as defensive coordinator, which could open up the door for Ferrell to have an expanded role. However, it could also mean he’s no longer a fit on the defense.

There’s been speculation that the defensive lineman could get traded this offseason but the team hasn’t started shopping him yet. Brent Sobleski of Bleacher Report believes that trading Ferrell could be beneficial for both sides:

Ferrell was saddled with outsized expectations as a top-five selection, and he’s never come close to achieving any of them. In three seasons, the defensive lineman has managed a meager eight sacks. He’s not a difference-maker and doesn’t even have a specific role in the coaching staff’s new defense.

General manager Dave Ziegler, head coach Josh McDaniels and defensive coordinator Patrick Graham have no ties to the 25-year-old edge. At this point, he’s nothing more than sunk cost and possible depth. Instead of trying to shoehorn him into their system, the Raiders could try to trade him to another squad that still sees some potential in him.

That might be best for both parties.

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How Valuable Is Ferrell in a Trade?

Ferrell has been in the league for three years now and it was widely considered a reach when the Raiders used a top-five draft pick on him. Considering he has 8.0 sacks in those three seasons, opinions of him being a reach haven’t changed. If the Raiders were to shop him in a trade, they can’t expect a big return.

The ceiling for a trade haul is likely a fifth-round pick. That’s not great value for a player the Raiders used such a high pick on. It doesn’t make a ton of sense to trade him right now. Perhaps he can be a key player on Graham’s defense. If not, he’ll be a free agent at the end of the year.

The moment Clelin Ferrell heard his name called at No. 4 overall.

Watch the #NFLDraft
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— Las Vegas Raiders (@Raiders) April 26, 2019

Maxx Crosby Ranked as 5th Best NFL Pass Rusher

The miss on Ferrell on the draft hurts a lot less due to the fact that the Raiders found a pass-rushing gem later in the same draft. Fourth-round pick Maxx Crosby has developed into a star. He was named Second-Team All-Pro last season and rewarded with a huge contract this offseason. ESPN recently had executives and coaches ranked the best pass rushers in the NFL and Crosby was ranked at No. 5.

“He’s not the most gifted on the list, but he’s so damn relentless, and he’s got great power [and] knows how to use it,” an AFC defensive coach said. “He’s a technician, too.”

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A centuries-old horse tooth might be the last piece in the genetic puzzle of Assateagues horses

The unexpected discovery of a 16th-century horse tooth in modern-day Haiti has provided credence for an age-old folk story about the origin of feral horses on an island off Maryland and Virginia.

The famous wild Chincoteague ponies have lived for centuries on Assateague Island, a barrier island on the Atlantic coast, for centuries. But no one is quite sure how they got there. A 1947 children’s book inspired by local legend, “Misty of Chincoteague,” suggests that the ponies are the descendants of Spanish horses who swam to the island after a Spanish ship wrecked off the coast of Virginia, reverting to a feral state over the years.

But research published in PLoS ONE by scientists from the Florida Museum of Natural History on July 22 provides new scientific support for the theory based on the discovery of the oldest known DNA from a domesticated horse in the Americas.

Nicolas Delsol, a postdoctoral researcher at the Florida Museum of Natural History, was researching cow bones from 16th-century archaeological sites in an effort to understand the introduction of domesticated cows to the Americas during Spanish colonization. He conducted DNA sequencing on a “huge collection of archaeological remains” from Puerto Real, an early Spanish town located in modern-day Haiti. The town was established by the Spanish in 1507 but abandoned in 1578.

“One of the bones that I thought was from a cow was misidentified,” Delsol explained in an interview with CNN. “A small fragment of tooth was actually [from] a horse.”

The discovery was “completely unexpected,” said Delsol. “We quickly realized it was maybe the first domestic horse genome that we had from the early colonies of America.”

The genetic analysis “confirms what we could expect from the historical documents, saying that the first horses were boarded on boats from the Iberian peninsula from southern Spain, most likely,” said Delsol. Horses were a crucial part of Spanish society, he said — so important that Spanish colonizers brought them on the grueling and logistically challenging journey across the Atlantic Ocean.

But the genetic analysis of the 16th-century tooth also helped Delsol identify the closest living relative of the early domestic horses: the Chincoteague ponies. The genetic similarity lends credence to the belief that the ponies are descendants of early Spanish horses, says Delsol.

“It might show some veracity behind this legend, that it is rooted in an actual event,” he said.

However, just because the feral ponies are likely descended from Spanish horses doesn’t mean they came from a shipwreck, the researcher noted.

“The Spanish could have left them on the island like they did with some other species, like pigs or cattle, left them to breed to have some local stock,” he explained.

The discovery also provides more evidence for just how far north Spanish colonizers in the Americas reached.

“It shows something that is not widely known but is partially studied, that the Spanish were not only present in the Caribbean region, and in Mexico and in South America, but also exploring their options much farther north on the east coast of the US in the mid-Atlantic region,” said Delsol. “We have some evidence of Spanish presence, Spanish expeditions inland in the Carolinas.”

Going forward, Delsol and his team hope to expand their research on the Puerto Real specimens — and explore how early colonizers depended on horses for cattle ranching in the Americas.

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