Keanu Neal NFL Draft 2016: Scouting Report, Grade for Falcons Rookie

B/R Video@@bleacherreportB/R VideoApril 29, 2016


A junior entry into the 2016 draft class, Keanu Neal is generating buzz as the potential first safety off the board. That’s where he ranks for us.

A starter for a season-and-a-half at Florida, Neal made waves with his big hitting style. He was like a smaller Kam Chancellor punishing SEC running backs, quarterbacks and wide receivers. Whether he was breaking up passes over the middle of the field or spying a quarterback, Neal was making an impact on defense.

A top-tier athlete for his size, Neal has the closing speed to track the ball inside and outside the tackle box. He’s a clean player in transitions and has the explosive hips to flip and run when he sees an alley to the ball. He is thick enough to go through blockers when taking a line to the ball—a trait that translates well to the NFL.

A twitchy, powerful player, Neal has the tools and athleticism to be a valuable player on every down.


With 16 missed tackles in 2015, Neal toes the line between aggressive and too aggressive when coming downhill to play the ball.

He can be late to read-and-react to the ball in front of him—especially passing plays. He’s a fast player, but his straight-line ability was just average when asked to turn and pursue a receiver who slipped by in coverage. Neal is much faster when he’s chasing the ball than when he’s moving about the field.

His play mentality is fantastic, but he has to learn to limit his intensity when it comes to breaking down in space to make tackles and when he’s asked to sit and read the offense to get in place as a coverage safety. If he can be coached to play deep coverage, Neal should see the field as a rookie.


Height: 6'0"

Weight: 211 lbs.

40 Time: 4.62s

3-Cone: 7.09s

Short Shuttle: 4.38s

PRO COMPARISON: Calvin Pryor, New York Jets
FINAL GRADE: 6.99/9.00 (Round 2—Future Starter)