Photo of Neiron Ball
Drafted By: Raiders

Combine Results

4.9 ?
  • 22 REPS
    Top Performer

Draft Analysis:

The Raiders select their second straight linebacker in this draft. Unlike their earlier pick, Heeney, Ball projects better on the outside and plays snap to whistle. His health has been a problem, but his motor and cover skills should help solidify a roster spot. --Mark Dulgerian

  • 6'2" Height
  • 33 5/8" Arm Length
  • 236LBS. Weight
  • 9 3/8" Hands


2014: Played in nine games with seven starts. Missed the rest of the season due to knee injury suffered vs. South Carolina and underwent microfracture surgery. 2013: Played in all 12 games with seven starts. First career sack came against Jameis Winston and Florida State. 2012: Played in 11 games with two starts. 2011: Missed the entire season after suffering an arteriovascular malformation condition. This is where the brain's blood vessels get tangled and rupture. 2010: Played in all 13 games on the kickoff and kickoff return teams as a true freshman.

Pro Day Results

40-yard dash: 4.6 and 4.62 seconds
Vertical jump: 34 1/2 inches



Good athlete with adequate play strength for his size. Willing to take on lead blockers and play physically against the run. Plays with toughness. Played outside 'backer in a 3-4 and 4-3 and took reps at inside 'backer. Stays square to line of scrimmage, using controlled footwork to slide along line of scrimmage. Has ability to cover man to man. Doesn't quit on a play. Will continue bird-dogging a play until whistle sounds. Has speed to close out on perimeter and uses same burst as decent pass rusher. Can cover kicks and punts. Mentally tough and has overcome difficult circumstances in his life.


The microfracture surgery he underwent in mid-November is a substantial concern. Slow with his eyes. Gets off of playaction and into coverage slower than desired. Inconsistent with diagnosing quickly and attacking. Looks like a thinker rather than reactor when playing inside. Angular linebacker who could use more bend and leverage in his game. Had brain surgery in 2011 after being diagnosed with rare, hereditary condition.

Draft Projection

Priority free agent

Bottom Line

Versatile linebacker with good play speed and a motor that teams look for. While Ball's play clearly improved from 2013 to 2014, his physical issues will be tough to overcome by draft day. He overcame losing both of his parents before the age of 10 as well as brain surgery in 2011, so he's no stranger to adversity and perseverance. Ball might have to attempt to beat the odds once again and make a roster via the undrafted-free-agent route.
-Lance Zierlein
Grade Title
9.00-10 Once-in-lifetime player
8.00-8.99 Perennial All-Pro
7.50-7.99 Future All-Pro
7.00-7.49 Pro Bowl-caliber player
6.50-6.99 Chance to become Pro Bowl-caliber player
6.00-6.49 Should become instant starter
5.50-5.99 Chance to become NFL starter
5.20-5.49 NFL backup or special teams potential
5.01-5.19 Better-than-average chance to make NFL roster
5.00 50-50 Chance to make NFL roster
4.75-4.99 Should be in an NFL training camp
4.50-4.74 Chance to be in an NFL training camp
No Grade Likely needs time in developmental league.