Rajion Neal NFL Draft 2014: Highlights, Scouting Report and More

Ryan Lownes@@ryanlownesFeatured ColumnistMarch 27, 2014

Sep 7, 2013; Knoxville, TN, USA; Tennessee Volunteers running back Rajion Neal (20) runs the val against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers during the second half at Neyland Stadium. Tennessee won 52-20. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports
Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Rajion Neal, RB, Tennessee (HT: 5’11”, WT: 211 lbs)

NFL Comparison: Alfred Morris, RB, Washington Redskins

Positives

  • Runs low with good pad level, absorbs contact well and can slip tackles.
  • Generally a decisive, north-south runner.
  • Finishes runs and displays some power by lowering his shoulder. Will put his nose down and grind out the tough yards between the tackles.
  • Good size at roughly 5’11”, 211 pounds with adequate length.
  • Decent receiver out of the backfield, appears to have fairly natural hands.
  • Shows the ability to adjust to poorly thrown passes and catch the ball outside of his frame.
  • Can pick and slide fairly quickly, utilizing a jump-cut to create space.
  • Willing pass-protector that is not afraid to hit someone and is capable of identifying the blitz.
  • Fights and twists for extra yardage, churns his legs and tends to fall forward.
  • Versatile. He played wide receiver, tailback and Wildcat quarterback as a sophomore.
  • Flashes a strong stiff arm in the open field.
  • For a senior running back prospect, he does not have many miles on him.
  • Breakout season earned him a shot to show scouts his ability at the East-West Shrine Game. Ran with more confidence as a senior.

Negatives

  • Does not have breakaway speed, will have difficulty turning the corner at the next level and is not a home run hitter.
  • Lacks exceptional burst, average acceleration may not cut it at the next level.
  • Vision and decision-making are inconsistent. Does not always look for the hole; drops his eyes prematurely and plunges forward at times, settling for a couple yards.
  • Not a very elusive runner, does not make many defenders miss in space or in the hole.
  • Prone to being overpowered in pass protection, technique needs refinement as he must slide his feet and use his arms to steer defenders from harm’s way.
  • Average production; his senior season marked the first time he eclipsed 200 carries or 1,000 yards.
  • Not an effective runner outside the tackles. He lacks the quickness or explosiveness to exploit opponents on the edge
  • Ball security is a huge concern, is very fumble-prone.
  • Lacks outstanding qualities. There is not much in his game that separates him from other prospects.
  • Struggled with inconsistency and a bit with injury early in his college career.
  • Had the luxury of playing behind one of the nation’s biggest and most physical offensive lines.
  • Was not invited to the NFL Scouting Combine.
Rushing Statistics
YearTeamCarYdsAvgTD
2010Tennessee461974.30
2011Tennessee271345.02
2012Tennessee1567084.55
2013Tennessee21511245.212
http://espn.go.com/college-football/player/_/id/504322/rajion-neal
Receiving Statistics
YearTeamRecYdsAvgTD
2010Tennessee710014.30
2011Tennessee1326920.71
2012Tennessee191497.84
2013Tennessee271084.00
http://espn.go.com/college-football/player/_/id/504322/rajion-neal

Personal Notes

  • Joined the Vols track & field team as a junior
  • Missed two games due to an ankle injury 2012
  • Sociology major

Ratings Chart

nces.ed.gov

Overall

After finally getting the opportunity to carry the full load for the Vols as a senior, Rajion Neal impressed with a strong season. Equipped with adequate size and power, he fits best in a zone-blocking scheme that allows him to make one cut and get upfield. He lacks speed and elusiveness, however, and does not project to be more than a backup or complementary player in the backfield. To stick on a roster at the next level, he may need to prove he is capable of contributing on special teams.

Draft Projection: 7th Round-UDFA

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