In a draft in which the Las Vegas Raiders didn’t own a first or second-round pick, not many people expected them to make noise. Still, the Silver and Black did manage to land some talented players, with one of them being LSU’s Neil Farrell Jr.
If the only thing Farrell contributes to the Raiders is to just clog the running lanes, then he’s done his job. Farrell is a giant, standing at six-foot-four, 330 lbs. He had an excellent year with LSU in 2021, starting all 12 games with 45 tackles, 9.5 for a loss, and a whopping 24 total pressures, which is impressive for a defensive tackle of his size.
Neil Farrell’s strengths and weaknesses
Got a chance to see Neil Farrell up close in Mobile ðŸ‘€ðŸ‘€ðŸ‘€
I like the pick #RaiderNation pic.twitter.com/aKoSPlXLBl
— Maliik Obee (@NFLMaliik) April 30, 2022
Farrell’s skillset is perfect as a space-eating nose tackle, and it’s exactly what this defense needs. With that size, he’s also unexpectedly quick, and he’s quick from sideline to sideline when it comes to chasing down runners. He’s very big and it’s impossible for linemen to move him around after first contact.
Still, Farrell does have some weaknesses. For example, he isn’t consistently able to shed blocks to get into the backfield or get in between holes. While his size lets him clog up running holes, if he’s met with a good block, he’s not able to consistently escape it.
While Farrell has size and strength, he lacks the athleticism to go along with it. He doesn’t have a chance at beating an opponent with his feet and instead will have to rely on his strength in the NFL. Overall, he has a large lack of agility and an inability to shed blocks. Neil may be forced into a role where he simply has to focus on one gap during a play.
What will Farrell’s role be with the Raiders?
Farrell has strengths and weaknesses, but one thing is for sure: he will help the Raiders a lot. The interior defensive line took a couple of hits during the offseason, losing most of its core role players. Neil is a traditional nose tackle, and his presence will immediately remedy that problem.
Farrell Jr. has big-game experience, as he played in the National Championship game for LSU in the 2020 season. He has a championship pedigree, and that will be useful for a locker room that is projected to be a serious contender by most people. This attitude and his schematic fit on the defense should help the Raiders tremendously this coming season.
Realistically, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Neil Farrell Jr. contends for a starting role. In the worst-case scenario, he’ll be a rotational piece. Las Vegas’s depth on the interior defensive line is thin, and besides Johnathan Hankins, there isn’t another name that stands out to compete for a starting role. His talent is there, and you shouldn’t be surprised if you see Farrell on the field a lot next season. We’ll have to wait and see about the other Ferrell.
*Top Photo: Josh Auzenne/WAFB-TV