Shaq Lawson, Darron Lee and Kevin Dodd were on the board when the Falcons selected Keanu Neal out of Florida with the 17th overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft. Neal is fine player but no one had him ranked as number 17 … except the Falcons. I believe Dan Quinn when he says the birds drafted for scheme and Neal is the best fit in the secondary. But earlier this month GM Thomas Dimitroff admitted on national radio his biggest mistake was not drafting Clay Matthews-because he drafted a player Peria Jerry for scheme, instead of the player who was the better Athlete. WHAT?!
The Falcons just committed the same act … at the same position which was admittedly the biggest mistake in the Dimitroff era! Certainly Neal is a physical player who is a thumper but he would have been available later is he consensus of most who disagree with the selection. Lee was without a doubt the best athlete but was not taken.
The Falcons have four more picks if they do not trade this draft and could get a pass rusher or linebacker with later picks which would soften the shock of their first pick to many. To be a team that finished with 19 sacks last season and pick a player who is furthest from the line of scrimmage with the first pick is something the team and the fans will just have to ponder until Neal proves he’s first round worthy or that the Falcons prove they can pick sack-masters and perennial All-Pros on the defensive side of the ball.
…and there it is.