The 2021 NFL Draft‘s tight end class isn’t known for its depth on Day 3. Nevertheless, there are some intriguing developmental tight end candidates who could go on to outperform expectations in the NFL. One of those intriguing NFL Draft prospects is Ohio State tight end Luke Farrell. Once a highly-rated recruit, does Farrell have the physical traits necessary to develop into a contributor?
Luke Farrell NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Tight End
- School: Ohio State
- Current Year: Redshirt Senior
- Height: 6’5 1/2″
- Weight: 251 pounds
Tony Pauline’s Luke Farrell Scouting Report
Positives: Nice-sized tight end who plays tough, instinctive football. Keeps his head on a swivel as a blocker, stays with assignments, and bends his knees.
Stays square, shows strength, and works blocks. Quickly releases into pass routes, displays dependable hands, and nicely adjusts to the errant throw.
Takes a big hit yet holds onto the ball and makes the difficult reception with defenders draped on him. Finds the open spot in the underneath coverage and also gives effort blocking downfield.
Negatives: Plays to one speed, lacks a burst, and isn’t a downfield threat as a pass catcher. Solid, yet not dominant blocker.
Analysis: Farrell lacks great upside but gets the most from his ability. He’s accomplished enough as both a blocker and pass catcher to make an NFL roster as a third tight end.
Luke Farrell Player Profile
The Ohio State offense doesn’t often feature tight ends. It didn’t under Urban Meyer, and Ryan Day, to this point, has followed his predecessor’s example. Even those that made it to the NFL recently — Jeff Heuerman in 2015 and Nick Vannett in 2016 — weren’t focal points in college. The same can be said for Luke Farrell, who has a chance to be drafted this year.
Farrell was a four-star recruit coming out of high school, and the 163rd-ranked recruit in the 2016 recruiting class. Farrell could have gone to a program with a better track record of tight end usage. Boston College, Notre Dame, Michigan, Michigan State, and Penn State all presented offers to the 6-foot-6, 244-pound pass catcher. Nevertheless, the Perry, Ohio native chose to stay in-state and become an Ohio State Buckeye.
Luke Farrell’s career as an Ohio State tight end
By coming to Ohio State, Farrell traded in an opportunity to be a premier threat for a chance to attain victory as a team. He never caught more than 20 passes in a season, and only caught 34 total passes in his entire Ohio State career. Nevertheless, Farrell grew to be a respected member of the Buckeyes’ offense. He did his job as a blocker/situational receiver and was comfortable in that role.
Farrell redshirted in his first season with the Buckeyes. He then returned as a redshirt freshman for the 2017 season. Farrell only caught two passes in 2017 but managed to use that campaign as a springboard for an improved 2018. Farrell was Ohio State’s top tight end in 2018, catching 20 passes for 205 yards, as well as his first career touchdown.
Unfortunately for Farrell, 2018 would be the peak of his individual collegiate career. The Ohio State tight end only caught 7 passes for 119 yards and a score in 2019. By 2020, Jeremy Ruckert comfortably overtook him as the primary tight end and Farrell logged only 5 catches (for 37 yards and a touchdown). After the 2020 season, Farrell officially declared for the 2021 NFL Draft.
Luke Farrell’s best fits in the 2021 NFL Draft
There won’t be a particularly large market early on for Farrell. The Ohio State tight end was never a consistent threat in the passing game. It’s worth noting that, although Ohio State’s offense passes the ball a great deal, tight ends aren’t used as frequently. Nevertheless, Farrell’s inability to break out spells doubt over his upside at the pro level. But Farrell does have some developmental potential, regardless.
At the Ohio State Pro Day, Farrell tested well. He earned a Relative Athletic Score of 8.63. Numbers that contributed to that score included a 4.82 40-yard dash, a 36.5-inch vertical, a 118-inch broad jump, and 22 bench reps with 33-inch arms. Farrell is tough, well-rounded, and now has confirmed athletic traits. That’s more than enough to earn him some interest on mid-to-late Day 3, but that might be his ceiling.
Which teams could best utilize Farrell’s skill set?
It’s hard to imagine that Farrell will develop into anything more than a solid No. 2 tight end, but his athletic profile is intriguing. He’s not a deep threat, as his 40-time confirms. However, he has enough explosiveness and agility for his size to grow into a more respectable threat in short-yardage and red-zone situations Additionally, Farrell’s high floor as a blocker compounds his immediate utility.
For teams like Washington, Buffalo, and Atlanta, Farrell would be a nice low-risk addition in Round 6 or Round 7. It’s also worth noting that Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer helped bring Farrell to the Buckeyes back in 2016. He could ultimately spend a late-round pick on a familiar player in Farrell.
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