So, the “space tackler” Coach Quinn coveted the most turned out to be Florida Gator safety Keanu Neal. Surprised with the pick? Not really. I was surprised the Falcons didn’t trade back, add a pick and then, select the hard-hitting safety. Taking Neal at (17) seemed to be a “reach.” Dimitroff admitted afterwards they were concerned that he could come off the board, before their spot came up again.
Keanu Neal appears to be a good fit for Q’s defensive scheme. He’s a thumper, which means he helps stop the run, by playing physical. Coach Quinn seems to believe Keanu can also cover up opposing tight-ends & running backs in the passing game—although that certainly was not his reputation at Florida. He’s also a guy that can line up in the box and attack the QB, which would come in handy.
The Falcons needed a starter at safety, so Keanu Neal should start immediately. Can’t imagine him not starting, especially after Mr. Blank’s comment of needing 3 starters in the draft. Plug and play. Keanu is the strong safety in base defense. He’ll line up in the box out of the nic/dime package too.
Couldn’t help but notice that Neal wasn’t rated this high, in fact one publication didn’t have Keanu rated in the Top 40 players. But he’s a good fit here in Atlanta.
It’s difficult to ignore some of the guys the Falcons passed on too. Shaq Lawson (bad shoulder, uh?), the much publicized Darron Lee, Ragland, and Myles Jack.
Keanu Neal has selected #22 as his number on the team. Sure hope #22 does more than just help stop the run and blitz the QB. Need him to cover too. The Falcons have been carved up by opposing tight-ends and running backs in the passing game (combined 213 receptions LS/led the NFL). We need a 3-down, impact player. The hope here is that he delivers.