Raiders DT rookie Neil Farrell could make big impact in first year

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The Raiders haven’t picked a single time in the NFL Draft until the No. 90 pick. However, that doesn’t mean they can’t and won’t get a lot of production from their rookie class. But which rookie could play a surprising number of snaps this season?

In a recent article by Bleacher Report’s Kristopher Knox, he named a few rookies who could have significant impacts for the Raiders this season. That list included none other than Neil Farrell, who was drafted in the fourth round by Las Vegas.

Here’s a snippet of his thoughts on the player and how he could fit into their defense this season:

“At 6’4” and 330 pounds, the 23-year-old is a brick wall of a defender who swallows ball carriers at the point of attack. Last season alone, he had 45 tackles, 20 solo saves and 9.5 tackles for a loss. Those numbers suggest he’s not just a space eater, with his frame he certainly can be.

While he may not have the perennial All-Pro advantage, he has the tools to contribute immediately and for a long time. Expect Farrell to work on runs early to help improve a defense that ranked 19th in rushing yards allowed last season.

As Knox mentioned, the Raiders finished 19th in run defense last season. But they were actually much worse when it mattered most. They just couldn’t stop when they needed to and far too often teams were able to control the line of scrimmage against the Raiders’ inside defensive line.

Farrell probably won’t be a Day 1 starter for the Raiders, but he should play a lot of snaps as a rotational running defender. And if Johnathan Hankins ran out of time, Farrell would step in as a starter.

The Raiders have a lot of depth on the inside defensive line right now, but Farrell should be able to find a role fairly quickly this season. They desperately lack a run-stopping nose tackle and that is precisely what he can do well.

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