Have the Falcons targeted Florida safety Keanu Neal?

FLOWERY BRANCH – With the draft a few hours away, there’s is a lot of buzz around Florida safety Keanu Neal and the Atlanta Falcons.

Neal was partially recruited by Falcons head coach Dan Quinn, before he left Florida to return to Seattle. Neal played special teams as a freshmen in 2013.

Neal said that teams have told him he's a late first-round or second round pick. The Falcons are in need of a strong safety after releasing William Moore.

The Palm Beach Post wrote an article asking: Will Gator safety Keanu Neal be a first-round pick?

I texted an high-ranking AFC personnel executive today and asked if Neal is a first-round pick and the answer was "possibly." I also asked if he's heard anything about the Falcons moving back in the draft and the answer was "No, I have not."

Here's what the draft world has to say about Neal, a 6-foot, 211-pound strong safety, who was the Gators third-leading tackler with 96 tackles and he had an interception before deciding to pass on his senior season and enter the draft:

NFL.com Second round

Mike Mayock – Third best safety in the draft, behind Ohio State’s Vonn Bell and West Virginia’s Karl Joseph.

AJC.COM – We had him as the fifth rated safety behind Bell , Boise State’s Darian Thompson, Joseph and USC’s S’ua Cravens.

Jsonline.com – The esteemed Bob McGinn of The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has the Falcons taking Alabama linebacker Reggie Ragland with the 17th pick . Joseph is only safety he has being taken in the first round.  He has Neal as the third rated safety on his top 100 list behind Joseph and Bell.

NFL Draft Preview 2016 – Nolan Nawrocki, a former scout, has Neal with a “second-to-third round” grade. “His cover skills are average. He is a big hitter, and that is what’s going to excite (scouts), but I don’t think he is a great tackler. He has size, but I don’t see him matching athletic ability. I’m not sure he can run.”

NFL Draft Elite 60 – Dane Brugler doesn’t have Neal rated in the top 60 players. His top safeties are Jalen Ramsey, Bell and Notre Dame’s Jeremy Cash.

Stay tuned!!!

ORG XMIT: S-S1104302131060583 Davison Colimon, Suncoast (544), and Keanu Neal, South Sumter (527) both clear hurdles in the 110-meter hurdles competition during the FHSAA Class 2A state track meet at Showalter Field in Winter Park on Saturday, April 30, 2011. (Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel) ORG XMIT: ORL1104302002351813


Sunday, April 17 -- QUARTERBACKS

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D. Led’s breakdown of the Quarterbacks

A look at the top 10 Quarterbacks in the draft


D Led’s breakdown of the Running backs -- Is Derrick Henry the next Charles Muncie?

A look at the top 10 Running backs


D. Led’s breakdown of the Wide receivers

A look at the top 10 Wide receivers

Wednesday -- TIGHT ENDS

D. Led’s breakdown of the Tight ends

A look at the top 10 tight ends


D. Led’s breakdown of the Offensive linemen

A look at the top 10 offensive linemen


D. Led’s breakdown of the Defensive linemen

A look at the top 10 defensive linemen 

Saturday, April 23 -- LINEBACKERS

Falcons searching for hybrid linebacker/safeties

D. Led’s breakdown of the Linebackers

A look at the top 10 linebackers

Sunday, April 24 -- CORNERBACKS

D. Led’s breakdown of the cornerbacks

A look at the top 10 cornerbacks

Monday, April 25 -- SAFETIES

D. Led’s breakdown of the Safeties

A look at the top 10 Safeties

Tuesday, April 26

D. Led’s breakdown of the Specialists, kickers, punters and returners

A look at the top 5 punters and top 5 kickers

Wednesday, April 27

Final mock draft

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About the Author

D. Orlando Ledbetter
D. Orlando Ledbetter
D. Orlando Ledbetter is the Atlanta Falcons beat writer for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.