As the NFL cutdown deadline approached on Tuesday, the Kansas City Chiefs actively sought to acquire more talent. It was announced that the team traded with the division rival Las Vegas Raiders for second-year defensive tackle Neil Farrell Jr.
The team sent Las Vegas a sixth-round draft pick for the big defensive tackle. Listed at 6’4” and 325 lbs., Farrell does not lack the size to play along the defensive interior in the NFL. Picked with the 126th selection of the 2022 NFL Draft, he played in only nine games for the Raiders as a rookie, and in those games, he played only 158 snaps.
While there is not much to go off of, he provided some flashes into what he could possibly become under the correct tutelage in Kansas City.
Farrell is a load and was not shy about throwing his weight around on the field in 2022.
Farrell lined up at the 3tech he stayed stout and took on the double team. He does not give up movement down the field. As the RB starts to cut he is able to power through the double team and latch on to the RB to make the stop. Short yardage stoper. pic.twitter.com/GsXrtnqgiH— Caleb James (@CJScoobs) August 30, 2023
Late in a game against the Denver Broncos, Farrell was in the game in short-yardage situations.
The Denver Broncos' left tackle and left guard attempt to double team on the backside of the zone run play. Farrell stays stout and does not give up movement. He initially holds the blocker, taking them laterally and not allowing any vertical push. As the running back looks for a seam, Farrell splits the double team using his mass and brings down the running back for a stop in the backfield.
His natural size and leverage make him hard to move when double-teamed, and it can also help him to give offensive linemen trouble when left one-on-one with him.
Neil Farrell #92. Jags run power. The center back blocks, and Farrell gives up no ground. Works an arm over to beat the block and clogs the A gap. He gets his hands on the RB but cannot finish the play. Still disruptive and his teammates make the stop. pic.twitter.com/qbxJ5H4oJN— Caleb James (@CJScoobs) August 30, 2023
Lined up as a 1-technique, Farrell will be singled blocked by the center while the Jacksonville Jaguars attempt to run power. The center does not get any initial push on Farrell and tries to lean on him, pushing all his weight against him.
This works in Farrell’s favor, as he uses a quick arm-over move to work off the center block and put himself in a position to disrupt the play. He does not finish the play with a tackle, but he creates the play for his teammates.
Burst and athleticism
While Farrell’s stature will help him earn playing time as a run-stuffing defensive tackle, his burst off the ball and surprisingly smooth movement skills make him intriguing.
Athletic play by Farrell and good play recognition. He avoids the reach blocky by the LT, sets the edge, and forces the run back inside by holding up the TE. He works his way back inside to make the stop. pic.twitter.com/AF08Bb7e5Z— Caleb James (@CJScoobs) August 30, 2023
Line up as a 2i (inside shoulder of the guard), Farrell returns to the outside C-gap on the snap. A quick first step and club to the left tackle's shoulder gets him to the outside, where the Broncos are trying to set up a play.
The tight end has run flat down the line, looking to cut off any possible outside penetration, but he does not account for Farrell being out there and does not block him.
As the left tackle recovers, Farrell fights back into the C-gap to make the stop, showing off some impressive athletic ability in more space. Farrell didn’t play a high percentage of snaps for the Raiders, but he did show a good motor on the plays that he did play.
Great effort by Farrell. He pursues from all the way on the backside of the sweep to get to the ball. When the RB tries to cut back he hustles back the other direction and helps make the stop. pic.twitter.com/b6trdgPxF7— Caleb James (@CJScoobs) August 30, 2023
The Jacksonville Jaguars run a sweep to the opposite side of the field from where Farrell is lined up. With a very quick burst off the line of scrimmage, he starts to chase after the ball. After one of his teammates gets to the ball carrier and starts to turn the run back inside, Farrell turns and follows the play once more.
With a quick transition for 325 pounds (or more), he gets to the ball carrier and jumps in to make a stop.
His quick burst off the ball helps him to run down the play, and his second effort allows him to be rewarded with a tackle.
What to work on
Farrell still has plenty of areas of his game to work on.
If he continues to work on his pad level and maintains leverage, he can become more consistent as a run-stopper. When his leverage became inconsistent, he allowed movement off the line of scrimmage and lost his effectiveness against the run.
He appears to be a competent run-stopper on the film and can play the 1-technique or 3-technique on run downs, but he lacks in the pass rush department. He does not have a career sack, and in his nine games, he only accounted for two pressures.
He must also work on his general conditioning to make a more significant impact. Only playing 27% of the snaps, he was primarily a two-down player but only did so in small stretches.
Better overall conditioning will help him to stay on the field for more extended periods — and also allow him to possibly develop more as a pass rusher.
The bottom line
Farrell is a developmental player who will have a chance to contribute early on in his tenure in Kansas City. Chris Jones was placed on the Reserve/Did Not Report list, and whether he will report in time for Week 1 is up in the air. The team released run-stuffer Danny Shelton and will need another body to play along the interior.
Farrell is a young, unproven player, but he will be joining a group that is either underperforming or just as inexperienced. This will open up a chance for him to gain more playing time, especially once he better understands the Chiefs' defense.