Home > News > Sports > NFL > 2016 NFL Draft: Falcons select Keanu Neal with pick #17

2016 NFL Draft: Falcons select Keanu Neal with pick #17

Pick AnalysisWith the 17th pick of the 2016 NFL draft, the Atlanta Falcons select Keanu Neal, Safety, Florida. Very ph


Pick Analysis

With the 17th pick of the 2016 NFL draft, the Atlanta Falcons select Keanu Neal, Safety, Florida. Very physical safety who could actually make a movement to Linebacker. Neal is a speed demon and can lay down a hit too. He goes from side-line to side-line and is very versatile. Not the pick everyone expected with a huge need for the pass rusher, however if moved to Linebacker, Neal can definitely rush the passer. His athleticism speaks for itself, and although he probably won’t start right away, he can come in for certain schemes and make a huge impact. Although it has its upside, this pick is very much a reach. (Thomas Clapham)

Player Analysis

Rangy and violent, that’s Neal in a couple of adjectives.  The aggression he plays with leads to some great play as a downhill safety, exceling in the run game where his physicality and directness quickly end plays in emphatic fashion.  The Florida Gators defense was one of the best in the country this season, dragging their lacklustre offense to an SEC title game, and for a while challenging for the playoffs despite being so reliant on just the one side of the ball.  Neal was one member of a stacked secondary, and while the corner pairing that included Hargreaves and the equally talented Jalen Tabor received more attention, Neal had a strong enough season to warrant declaring early as a junior.  Despite missing a couple games, Neal finished the year with 96 tackles, 3.5 TFLs, 2 sacks, 1 INT and 1 pass breakup.  Those stats do hint at not being the best in coverage, which is fair to say, as it’s not his strength.  He does move well and smoothly in space though, even if he’s not a stand out athlete, and can be trusted to cover a good area of the field.  That said, moving downfield to take down ball carriers is his primary role.  The instincts and general awareness are not quite there yet, and it’s not certain right now if he is one to read a QB or the situation and anticipate in order to be a more effect player beyond his hard-hitting fly to the ball carrier style.  He could develop that area of his game, or might just not have the natural high football IQ to ever have a true complete game.  His durability is in question as well, having missed time on and off over his career.  There’s a lot to love about what he does do well though and his general attitude, with a good frame for the position to start and continue to be productive. (Rebecca Rennie)

Grade C – 


2016 NFL Draft: Falcons select Keanu Neal with pick #17

log in

Don't have an account?
sign up

reset password

Back to
log in

sign up

Back to
log in

Send this to a friend