The Oakland Raiders selected Neiron Ball with the 161st overall selection in the fifth round of the 2015 NFL Draft. Ball will be the only former Florida Gators player on Oakland’s roster and the first Florida Gator selected by Oakland since Louis Murphy in 2009.
Ball’s story is unbelievable. He lost both of his parents by the age of 10. Then, Ball’s football career — and life — almost ended in 2011 when doctor’s found an arteriovenous malformation — a blood vessel condition that caused bleeding in his brain. He had to undergo brain surgery and missed the 2011 season. Ball returned to the team in 2012 and recorded his first interception — against Georgia — while appearing I every game, starting two.
Ball played well in 2013 but saw his senior season cut short when he had to have microfracture surgery on his knee.
He wasn’t invited to the NFL Combine and would only have one opportunity to impress scouts at Florida’s pro day.
Ball has played outside linebacker his whole career at Florida and the Raider will look to use him in a hybrid linebacker/pass rusher role in their defense.