The Atlanta Falcons had many options to choose from with the 17th overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, ultimately selecting Florida safety Keanu Neal. So far, it looks like the coaches in Atlanta are impressed by the player and believe he could be a big part of their defense going forward.
Defensive coordinator Richard Smith recently spoke with the team’s official website and talked about how Neal has the chance to be a huge player for the team this year and beyond. He has reportedly looked very impressive in workouts this offseason.
“I’ll tell you what, I’ve been very impressed with (Neal),” Smith said. “He’s extremely focused, he’s very mature, he’s very, very talented. I love his demeanor and his work ethic. He’s the first one in the building trying to get more coaching; he wants to be coached so much. I think he’s going to be pretty special.
“We can bring him on pressures, we can drop him into coverage, he can man up — so it’s a really good addition. More importantly, I love his maturity and how important it is to him as a young guy.”
When he was drafted by the Falcons, Keanu Neal immediately began drawing comparisons to Kam Chancellor, a guy that found success under Falcons’ head Dan Quinn when he was defensive coordinator with the Seattle Seahawks. The comparison has continued to grow and it certainly looks like Neal could be the start of a new Legion of Boom in the NFL.
Neal is one of the many new physical-natured players for Quinn’s defense, including rookies De’Vondre Campbell and Deion Jones. This should be very fun to watch going into the 2016 season.
The Falcons open the year on Sept. 11 when they face off against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.