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The TDWII Take: Keanu Neal...


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Throughout the night I ached for Myles Jack.  Not in terms of the Falcons potential at him dropping to #17, but because 2 weeks ago, this was a kid who many thought would not slip out of the top 5.  Now consider:

Brandon Scherff, last years #5 pick signed for $13.4M over 4 years.  Last years #32 pick (Jack's best-case scenario now) signed for $5.8M less.  But I get it.  You can't blame a team for taking him because of the talent.  But you can't blame any of them for not taking him.  And as such, when the Falcons picked Neal...it wasn't so much that I wasn't excited or that I didn't endorse the pick.  But two weeks ago, I was dreaming up trade scenarios to go get Jack.  And now I could only shrug my shoulders as I watched the Falcons (and every other team but the Chiefs and Pats) pass him by.

Make no mistake though, the Falcons needed a player like Neal.  In both mocks I did in the lead-up to Draft Day, I had a S drafted in either Round 2 (Jeremy Cash) or Round 3 (KJ Dillon).  So the fact the Falcons prioritized this position in Round 1 was not only justifiable from my POV, but from the type of player Neal appears to be, enforces a rough and tumble tazmanian devil type persona Quinn looks to be building with this unit.

The pick I feared the most, which seemed the most likely at the start of the night was Darron Lee, a player who seemingly has alot of measaurables and skills, but likes to take the scenic route to the action sometimes.  Neal strikes me as a tone setter, something I don't think Lee is...in fact, Neal seems like the type of player who could become a heart and soul type.  Obviously, performance on the field and in the locker room will dictate the intangibles and leadership standing Neal eventually does or does not attain with the Falcons.

Was Neal overdrafted?  I think it's irrelevant.  If he comes through as a great pick, he won't be considered as such.  If he busts, well...we could have traded to Round 2 and he would have wound up being overdrafted.  Remember when everyone loved the value we got with Peter Konz?  To me, the Falcons got a player who 1) fills a position of need, of which the Falcons have more than one and 2) brings a certain mentality and on-field presence the Falcons could use more of.  That's a win in my book at #17 or #27.

As for Day 2...what I wonder is if the Falcons are basing any of their draft strategy on Sean Weatherspoon.  Namely, can he truly come back.  Age wise...there would still appear to be tread on his tires.  Have injuries sapped his abilities?  That's a TBD.  But what we do know about picks after Round 1 is that their ability to come and start right away, the chances of them doing so are not nearly as high.  The last 2nd round pick for the Falcons who truly made an impact their rookie year was Curtis Lofton.  It's not to say they can't, but I wonder if the Falcons take the long view with this round.  Either way, last night was a good night for Spoon.
 

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3 minutes ago, TheDirtyWordII said:

Throughout the night I ached for Myles Jack.  Not in terms of the Falcons potential at him dropping to #17, but because 2 weeks ago, this was a kid who many thought would not slip out of the top 5.  Now consider:

Brandon Scherff, last years #5 pick signed for $13.4M over 4 years.  Last years #32 pick (Jack's best-case scenario now) signed for $5.8M less.  But I get it.  You can't blame a team for taking him because of the talent.  But you can't blame any of them for not taking him.  And as such, when the Falcons picked Neal...it wasn't so much that I wasn't excited or that I didn't endorse the pick.  But two weeks ago, I was dreaming up trade scenarios to go get Jack.  And now I could only shrug my shoulders as I watched the Falcons (and every other team but the Chiefs and Pats) pass him by.

Make no mistake though, the Falcons needed a player like Neal.  In both mocks I did in the lead-up to Draft Day, I had a S drafted in either Round 2 (Jeremy Cash) or Round 3 (KJ Dillon).  So the fact the Falcons prioritized this position in Round 1 was not only justifiable from my POV, but from the type of player Neal appears to be, enforces a rough and tumble tazmanian devil type persona Quinn looks to be building with this unit.

The pick I feared the most, which seemed the most likely at the start of the night was Darron Lee, a player who seemingly has alot of measaurables and skills, but likes to take the scenic route to the action sometimes.  Neal strikes me as a tone setter, something I don't think Lee is...in fact, Neal seems like the type of player who could become a heart and soul type.  Obviously, performance on the field and in the locker room will dictate the intangibles and leadership standing Neal eventually does or does not attain with the Falcons.

Was Neal overdrafted?  I think it's irrelevant.  If he comes through as a great pick, he won't be considered as such.  If he busts, well...we could have traded to Round 2 and he would have wound up being overdrafted.  Remember when everyone loved the value we got with Peter Konz?  To me, the Falcons got a player who 1) fills a position of need, of which the Falcons have more than one and 2) brings a certain mentality and on-field presence the Falcons could use more of.  That's a win in my book at #17 or #27.

As for Day 2...what I wonder is if the Falcons are basing any of their draft strategy on Sean Weatherspoon.  Namely, can he truly come back.  Age wise...there would still appear to be tread on his tires.  Have injuries sapped his abilities?  That's a TBD.  But what we do know about picks after Round 1 is that their ability to come and start right away, the chances of them doing so are not nearly as high.  The last 2nd round pick for the Falcons who truly made an impact their rookie year was Curtis Lofton.  It's not to say they can't, but I wonder if the Falcons take the long view with this round.  Either way, last night was a good night for Spoon.
 

I can agree with this. I wasn't high on Neal but thought is wasn't the right pick mainly because of our other needs. But it's a done deal now and as you said if he becomes an impact player 

I'll give TD his credit 

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now this is the fantastic quality of work I grew to expect out of you TDWII.  I am glad you made the pivot away from Myles Jack and whining about it - was hoping you would not do that - and, to your credit, you didn't.

As far as value,   I got the vibe from watching/recording both ESPN and NFLN that Rappoport/Schefter and those in the know all knew that Keanu Neal was in play in 1st round and was being considered by traditionally great defensive drafting teams like the NY Jets(#20) and the Pittsburgh Steelers(#25).   Neal was linked to both of those teams as well.

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We did over draft him make no mistake about that. He has only 19 starts playing college. Over drafting someone is not something I am against if you are certain he is your guy though. More concerning to me is how we arrived at this point because I think it shows a lack of foresight.

What concerns me is his lack of experience. While I do not disagree that he can be some if not all of the things you say in your write up I am concerned we are putting it on a guy that has only started 19 games. We are not needing him to do it in 2 or three years we are counting on him doing it day one. We did this exact same thing last year and the results were not great so far. Not that I think the door is closed on Collins it is just a big leap to make. While I think he probably pans out I think some will expect too much this year.

While it is not the decision I would have made I understand it. How we put ourselves in the position to begin with is a little more concerning to me. Hopefully he ends up being a steal as I think he has the talent for it.

From a strategic stand point I like the position it puts us in for the rest of the draft with where the value should be in the other rounds.

Edited by Sobeit
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Great write-up.

Neal very well could end up being a great player for us. I remember falling in love with the idea of him as a second/third round pick last month. He shot up the ranks quicker than we all thought and looks like Quinn wanted to make sure he got his guy. If Neal truly was our guy, seeing Joseph go as early as 14 probably made TD and Quinn feel pretty confident that taking him at 17 was the right move, regardless of where he was projected.

My biggest concern is its reminding me a lot of William Moore. Guy I fell in love with as a second round pick because he had huge hits in his highlight reel. We got him and he could barely wrap a guy up or even stay on the field. 

Difference with that is we have a coach who seems to have a very clear vision as to how he wants to use him. And with more invested in the pick, the coaches will pay close attention in making sure he has every chance to become the heart of this defense.

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6 hours ago, Sobeit said:

We did over draft him make no mistake about that. He has only 19 starts playing college. Over drafting someone is not something I am against if you are certain he is your guy though. More concerning to me is how we arrived at this point because I think it shows a lack of foresight.

What concerns me is his lack of experience. While I do not disagree that he can be some if not all of the things you say in your write up I am concerned we are putting it on a guy that has only started 19 games. We are not needing him to do it in 2 or three years we are counting on him doing it day one. We did this exact same thing last year and the results were not great so far. Not that I think the door is closed on Collins it is just a big leap to make. While I think he probably pans out I think some will expect too much this year.

While it is not the decision I would have made I understand it. How we put ourselves in the position to begin with is a little more concerning to me. Hopefully he ends up being a steal as I think he has the talent for it.

From a strategic stand point I like the position it puts us in for the rest of the draft with where the value should be in the other rounds.

I think the starts in college isn't as significant IMO.  19 games is more than what Shaq Larson started...Neal was a true (not redshirt) junior declare.  So for the most part, he became a starter when he was a sophomore.  I don't see that as a detriment.

As for Collins...I think he was considered quite raw coming out.  Rawer than Neal at a more technique driven or technical position in the secondary.    And while the 4 game suspension gets year 2 off shakily, it won't affect his off-season prep.  Will Moore was invisible his rookie year, and he turned into a solid pro.  

I had started to like Karl Joseph real late, not only because of the player, but the fit/need.  If Neal is a reasonable facsimile, that's good news.

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6 hours ago, FalconTough said:

My biggest concern is its reminding me a lot of William Moore. Guy I fell in love with as a second round pick because he had huge hits in his highlight reel. We got him and he could barely wrap a guy up or even stay on the field. 

One thing I would say is that as far as 2nd rounders go, we got good value from him.  Drafted in 2009, 7 seasons, 1 ProBowl...there have been better but there have been worse.  Much, much worse...he was above average.

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6 hours ago, TheDirtyWordII said:

Throughout the night I ached for Myles Jack.  Not in terms of the Falcons potential at him dropping to #17, but because 2 weeks ago, this was a kid who many thought would not slip out of the top 5.  Now consider:

Brandon Scherff, last years #5 pick signed for $13.4M over 4 years.  Last years #32 pick (Jack's best-case scenario now) signed for $5.8M less.  But I get it.  You can't blame a team for taking him because of the talent.  But you can't blame any of them for not taking him.  And as such, when the Falcons picked Neal...it wasn't so much that I wasn't excited or that I didn't endorse the pick.  But two weeks ago, I was dreaming up trade scenarios to go get Jack.  And now I could only shrug my shoulders as I watched the Falcons (and every other team but the Chiefs and Pats) pass him by.

Make no mistake though, the Falcons needed a player like Neal.  In both mocks I did in the lead-up to Draft Day, I had a S drafted in either Round 2 (Jeremy Cash) or Round 3 (KJ Dillon).  So the fact the Falcons prioritized this position in Round 1 was not only justifiable from my POV, but from the type of player Neal appears to be, enforces a rough and tumble tazmanian devil type persona Quinn looks to be building with this unit.

The pick I feared the most, which seemed the most likely at the start of the night was Darron Lee, a player who seemingly has alot of measaurables and skills, but likes to take the scenic route to the action sometimes.  Neal strikes me as a tone setter, something I don't think Lee is...in fact, Neal seems like the type of player who could become a heart and soul type.  Obviously, performance on the field and in the locker room will dictate the intangibles and leadership standing Neal eventually does or does not attain with the Falcons.

Was Neal overdrafted?  I think it's irrelevant.  If he comes through as a great pick, he won't be considered as such.  If he busts, well...we could have traded to Round 2 and he would have wound up being overdrafted.  Remember when everyone loved the value we got with Peter Konz?  To me, the Falcons got a player who 1) fills a position of need, of which the Falcons have more than one and 2) brings a certain mentality and on-field presence the Falcons could use more of.  That's a win in my book at #17 or #27.

As for Day 2...what I wonder is if the Falcons are basing any of their draft strategy on Sean Weatherspoon.  Namely, can he truly come back.  Age wise...there would still appear to be tread on his tires.  Have injuries sapped his abilities?  That's a TBD.  But what we do know about picks after Round 1 is that their ability to come and start right away, the chances of them doing so are not nearly as high.  The last 2nd round pick for the Falcons who truly made an impact their rookie year was Curtis Lofton.  It's not to say they can't, but I wonder if the Falcons take the long view with this round.  Either way, last night was a good night for Spoon.
 

Couldnt have said it better myself. Thank you! Our culture is changing his mentality is to seek and destroy and you have to love that.

 

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One other thing I'll say about trading down...I don't think yo can be as aggressive in making a trade down happen...IMO, if you are, you're devaluing the pick anyway and won't get full value back.  You kind of have to let the game come to you.  It's why I rarely mock trade downs anymore because you can't really be the aggressor in that situation...

I'm not surprised we didn't get any calls on the pick because I don't think we were in a very 'in-demand' spot in Round 1.

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14 minutes ago, Old Pappy falcon said:

It's more balance for us as a team. You really gotta like that!

Yeah I was/am some what bummed we didn't grab Jack but this kid is something we did need.  They were talking about him on the 929 this morning & reading his NFL draft profile strengths.  One thing they said was "Explodes downhill in run support with blood in his eyes. Vicious hitter looking to bruise bones and set tones."  That got me pumped.

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23 minutes ago, TheDirtyWordII said:

One other thing I'll say about trading down...I don't think yo can be as aggressive in making a trade down happen...IMO, if you are, you're devaluing the pick anyway and won't get full value back.  You kind of have to let the game come to you.  It's why I rarely mock trade downs anymore because you can't really be the aggressor in that situation...

I'm not surprised we didn't get any calls on the pick because I don't think we were in a very 'in-demand' spot in Round 1.

Yup. I cannot count how many times I tried to explain that to folks this week.

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7 hours ago, quotemokc said:

Best case scenario he becomes our Polamalu or Chancellor

Sometimes I have to wonder if people have actually watched a full game of Polamalu. He missed as much as he hit. He gambled his way out of half the plays. He was infuriating to watch. But, hey...highlights!

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7 hours ago, TheDirtyWordII said:

 

The pick I feared the most, which seemed the most likely at the start of the night was Darron Lee, a player who seemingly has alot of measaurables and skills, but likes to take the scenic route to the action sometimes.

 

 

I literally laughed out loud when I read this..... 

 

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