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4. Keanu Neal, S Florida
Keanu Neal leveled ball carriers as a safety for the University of Florida. Buzz keeps growing for Neal after a strong showing at the Combine where he put up some impressive numbers. While playing mostly in the box, he has some skill dropping in coverage as he often played as the single high safety for Florida. Lance Zierlein of NFL.com says he is “on top of the receiver immediately after the catch.”
Zierlein also points out that Neal “loses track of deep ball responsibility from time to time” and that he “won’t always turn and run early enough.” At the NFL level, wide receivers will exploit these coverage gaffes and turn in big plays. While quick to close on receivers in front of him, Neal does not have the top speed to catch up with receivers who get by him.
If drafted, Neal may find himself in the starting line up day one since Will Hill’s release. Playing the single high safety role will probably be filled by newly signed Pro Bowler Eric Weddle. Neal easily could be used as a big hitting, run support safety to help stop the run.
Next: 3. Cody Whitehair