Keanu Neal 2016 NFL Draft Profile

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Overview
Position: Strong Safety
Height: 6’0″
Weight: 207 pounds
School: Florida Gators

Combine Performance Data
40 Yard Dash: 4.62 seconds
Bench Press: 17 reps
Vertical: 38 inches
3 Cone Drill: 7.09 seconds
20 Yard Shuttle: 4.38 seconds

Keanu Neal 2016 NFL Draft Profile 

Neal grew up with his brother, Clint Hart, who had a seven year NFL career as well as a baseball career and is currently retired. With athleticism in the blood, he learned from his brother and committed to Florida as a four star recruit out of Bushnell, Florida in Dade County in 2012.

Neal hardly saw the field on defense in his freshman year as he was a backup to Matt Elam, a former second round pick and current Baltimore Ravens safety. Neal was able to see special teams time however, and even led his team in special teams tackles in 2013.

In his sophomore year he took over for Elam and took a huge step forward production wise from his freshman year. Neal started eight games, played in 10 and missed two due to injury in 2014. That year he recorded 45 tackles, one for loss, and had a career high three interceptions.

Neal now entered his junior year as an experienced starter. He missed two games to start the year, but still had a breakout year by most standards. He saw his tackles numbers grow from 45 to 84 saw his tackles for loss grow from one to 3.5, and started to become a known name on social media due to his bone crushing hits. With the buzz as high as it was Neal saw it as a good time to cash in and head to the draft with his fellow secondary teammate Vernon Hargreaves.

Strengths

  • Big time hitter, arguably hardest hitter in the draft
  • Ability to play in the box and center field
  • Exceptional athleticism
  • Quick closing speed
  • Strong against the run
  • Academic All-American, strong character kid

Weaknesses

  • Takes poor angles, causes missed tackles
  • Struggles to evade blockers
  • Relies on leading with his shoulder
  • Needs to learn when to wrap up
  • Gets caught peeking in the back field

NFL Comparison: Donte Whitner

Teams with need at position: Carolina Panthers, Dallas Cowboys, Pittsburgh Steelers, Houston Texans, Cleveland Browns

Projection: second round

Bottom Line

Neal is not quite yet a finished product, but he certainly has traits that can translate to the NFL. His speed and hard hitting ability make him a guy that teams will have to keep an eye on when planning for his team. The hope would be that where he goes he is taught not only when to wrap up, but how to take better angles. If it weren’t for missed tackles he would be a clear first round pick. Still, you can see the raw talent, and it is noted that he is a pretty bright kid, so he should be expected to learn the nuances of the NFL, and with that could easily be looked at as value as a solid starting strong safety for years to come.

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