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Reasons to like Keanu Neal to Falcons @ 17


Halsey.
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I just want to share some opinions and thoughts on Keanu Neal because I like him more and more as Falcons 1st rounder as time passes. It's hard not to be impressed with how many boxes he checks:

Size: Good
Speed: Good
Tests well athletically: Yes
Young with upside: He's not even 21 yet
Lots of playing experience vs top college competition: check
Behavior/off field issues: None that I'm aware of
Durability/injury issues: None that I'm aware of
Fills a need: Check
Potential to start early:  Check

And so on. I don't think I'm wearing rose colored glasses here either. I wasn't thrilled with the 2015 Draft and still question it. Many Draft observers question the Falcons taking Neal at 17, but how much does anyone really know about how good a 20 year old will become over the next however many years. I'm having a hard time really knocking the pick the more time I think about it. 

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If you think about what DQ has plans for at DE even though I kinda would have went Shaq Lawson and the void we have at SS the FO had to go with Neal and not risk him not being there at 50. DQ wanted him so he went and got him. I'm alright with that. It is some of the players left in rounds 4 through 7 that I wish we would have done differently 

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For real though, I was not a fan of this pick at first, because I thought we could get similar if not the same guy in the second.

It was only after the rest fell into place that I like this more and more. I also like it more and more the more I know about the guy. He's very intelligent, well spoken, a lot like Devonta. Guys that are that athletically gifted AND that intelligent are hard to come by. I'm on the Neal bandwagon all the way.

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I was the same way when I head the pick. But looking into it, we have the projected best player of that position on our team AND he fits the scheme of our new head coach. There will be more speed on the field this year than we've ever seen before on defense. Young. Fast. Physical.  #KNOCKEMDOWN

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The only issue in question  "was it a reach in the first round" Many believe Neal would have been available using our  2nd round pick. When you only have 5 picks heading into the draft, you have to maximize the value of the picks at each opportunity, TD has shown throughout his tenure he is more concerned about getting one specific guy  or guys and is willing to pay a premium to do it, the down side of the strategy is you end up with less picks to fill other holes. 

Edited by insight
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2 minutes ago, insight said:

The only issue in question  "was it a reach in the first round" Many believe Neal would have been available using our  2nd round pick. When you only have 5 picks heading into the draft, you have to maximize the value of the picks at each opportunity, TD has shown throughout his tenure he is more concerned about getting one specific guy  or guys and is willing to pay a premium to do it, the down side of the strategy is you end up with less picks to fill other holes. 

It wasn't a reach if he wasn't going to be there for us at pick 50 in the second round. No one was going to trade with us. So you risk losing "your guy" when he's right there. Pick the best player for your scheme who's available and keep moving. Which is what I think we did for the most part this entire draft.

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10 minutes ago, insight said:

The only issue in question  "was it a reach in the first round" Many believe Neal would have been available using our  2nd round pick. When you only have 5 picks heading into the draft, you have to maximize the value of the picks at each opportunity, TD has shown throughout his tenure he is more concerned about getting one specific guy  or guys and is willing to pay a premium to do it, the down side of the strategy is you end up with less picks to fill other holes. 

I won't speak to the other picks but someone would have to show me a plausible scenario where Neal, the 2nd rated S in the draft (by 0.1), possesses the hybrid traits that a lot of teams are looking for slips by 31 other teams.  Are we really the only team looking for a highly rated Safety?  Trade backs happen but not always on the terms you want to get your targets.

Edited by Monolith2001
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12 minutes ago, insight said:

The only issue in question  "was it a reach in the first round" Many believe Neal would have been available using our  2nd round pick. When you only have 5 picks heading into the draft, you have to maximize the value of the picks at each opportunity, TD has shown throughout his tenure he is more concerned about getting one specific guy  or guys and is willing to pay a premium to do it, the down side of the strategy is you end up with less picks to fill other holes. 

The whole "reach" question with Keanu Neal is just bogus anyway - all the people that were on the outside of the NFL inner circle thought Keanu Neal was a 2nd round pick.    So if the NFL media  (ESPN, NFLN, SI, CBSSPORTS, etc.) thinks that, of course we as fans think that.

The NFL thought differently.   Keanu Neal was invited to be on-site at the NFL Draft in Chicago.   The NFL invited 25 players that chose to attend this year - generally you are not invited unless the NFL thinks you will likely be a 1st round pick.

The Jets(@ #20) and the Steelers (@ #25) were linked to Keanu Neal as well.  Considering the Jets took a hybrid LB (Darron Lee) and the Steelers took a secondary player (Artie Burns), it appears defense and pass defense were foremost on their minds - some in Steelerland looked at Neal fondly like another throwback Steelers safety.

If the Falcons traded back more than 1-2 spots, then the chances they lost Keanu Neal increased dramatically.  Of course we all would have loved to trade back and still got the player that Quinn wanted - but the risk was deemed too great and I think it greater than 50/50 odds that the Falcons would have lost their player.

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1 minute ago, Monolith2001 said:

Kinda funny when you think about.  To my eyes, Darron Lee seemed more like a Safety but was listed as a LB.  Neal seems more like a LB but is a Safety.

I always get Nolan Nawrocki's NFL Draft guide every year and it always has an anonymous take of an NFL scout/GM:   for Darron Lee's it basically said he was a safety - when I get my mag later today, I will post the exact quote.

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