Florida’s Keanu Neal could be an option at #26

I spent the night watching this guy and had to write something down.

Keanu Neal (S, Florida) is a player.

The Seahawks say they want to be the bully again. Well here you go. This is the reason I ended up watching Neal in the first place tonight. I deliberately set out to try and find a guy who best fits the term ‘tone setter’.

There are a few in this draft — but not many with a supreme athletic profile, explosive quick-twitch athleticism, extreme tenacity and the ability to deliver bone-breaking hits.

They’re going to lose, as Marshawn Lynch might say, “some dogs” this off-season. Lynch has retired, Bruce Irvin likely moves on. In 2013 they had guys like Chris Clemons, Red Bryant and Brandon Browner. Physicality, toughness, street-fighter style attitude.

It’s hard to find guys like that within a group of rookies. It’s easier in free agency when you can dig out a guy like Tony ‘just take my lunch money’ McDaniel. If the Seahawks want to re-establish their attitude — Neal could be the answer.

He’s tentatively listed at 6-1 and 216lbs. That’s only a few pounds lighter than LSU linebacker Deion Jones.

Neal could play some ‘deathbacker’ like Deone Bucannon. He can play some safety. They can be creative with a guy like this. Bucannon was 6-1 and 211lbs at his combine and ran a 4.49. Let’s see if Neal gets into that speed range.

There’s every chance — he was a coveted four-star recruit in High School. He gets up to top speed very quickly — he looks explosive. He can play the run up at the line and that shouldn’t be an issue despite his lack of size. And when he locks on to a ball-carrier — he’ll hammer the guy.

He’s the type of player that can help the Seahawks establish that fear factor for receivers running across the middle. Get Kam Chancellor healthy and back to 100%, put him with Neal and it won’t be much fun at the second level.

If you were going to write down a list of ‘best players’ likely to be available at #26, Neal has to be on there. And while adding this type of player might not feel like a priority at the moment — let’s see what they do in free agency. Drafting Neal is arguably the type of aggressive, physical, high-character, high-production, SPARQy move the Seahawks love to make in round one.

Neal could also be an insurance hedge against Chancellor. Kelcie McCray is 28-years-old this year after all. If you’re thinking about a linebacker/safety for today and a starting strong safety for tomorrow — this could be an option. Like Bucannon in Arizona and Mark Barron with the Rams — you find a way to get the guy on the field.

In all honesty he might not even make it to #26. Atlanta at #17 and Washington at #21 could be surprise options. Minnesota and Pittsburgh could also show interest.

There are very few obvious flaws here. There are some missed tackles — but you could say the same for Earl Thomas. He’s certainly not a deep coverage specialist or rangy free safety — but he isn’t trying to be. And while he plays with a fierce intensity — he’s well spoken and seems like a good team mate. See for yourself:

Keep an eye on his workout on Monday. If he runs in the late 4.4’s like Bucannon — watch out.

Don’t forget to check out Thursday’s combine notes from earlier.


  1. Nick

    Hey Rob. Great write-up. I don’t mean this to sound rude (and perhaps I’ve just missed an article you’ve written on Neal) but this player seems out of left field.

    Why haven’t we heard about Neal before as a 1st round talent?

    • Rob Staton

      Can only speak for myself but tonight was my first opportunity to sit down and dedicate some time specifically to him.

      • Nick

        I can’t wait to dig into the tape myself. Thanks for uncovering him!

        • nichansen01

          I’ve heard of him as a very early second rounder, so a jump to the late first makes a lot of sense if he runs a good 40 time.

    • RealRhino2

      There’s been some buzz at walterfootball and from Pauline about Neal for a month or so.

    • oz

      There are sites that have both Neal and Johnson in the 1st. round.

  2. Nathan_12thMan

    This is the type of move I’d love to see the Seahawks make if they traded Kam. If I woke up tomorrow and we traded Kam to ______ for a 2016 2nd round pick and a 2017 5th round pick (or something) and then with our first pick we pick a guy like this to compete with McCray for the SS job? I’d be PUMPED. With that 2nd rounder we got for Kam we could do some awesome things, replace Irvin or grab a DT or grab a RB or grab a WR or grab a O-linemen.

    To be honest I kinda wish it would happen. I love Kam, I love the boom he played with and all of that but I his level of play in ’15 was so disappointing and I assume if we don’t adjust his contract (which I don’t think we will) he will have issues again, hold out again, etc. I’d rather just start over, draft a badass player to replace him in the 1st and get some draft capital in return for trading him. It also gives us 5+ million dollars in cap room to play with wouldn’t it? Getting his contract off the books in favor of a ’16 1st round draft pick?

    • Rob Staton

      Trading Kam would save $4.1m.

      I’m not sure it’d be such a great deal because for the second rounder you gain you’re losing your first rounder to replace Kam. So you’re essentially swapping Neal for Kam but then drafting in round two instead of at #26. And that’s if a team is willing to give you a second rounder for Kam Chancellor. You might be doing the deal for a third rounder. Or worse.

      Another issue is if you make a deal pre-draft (so you have the money for FA) you might be tipping your hat a bit with a possible new hole at safety.

      You’re also taking away another heartbeat player. Do you really want to lose Marshawn, Kam and Bruce in one off-season? That’s a total makeover really.

      Personally I’d rather use Neal in a Deone Bucannon type role with Kam at SS unless you get a really sweet trade offer.

      • Nathan_12thMan

        Good points. I agree about wanting to keep Kam as a heartbeat player, but how much of a heartbeat player is he really if he ends up being vocal about his contract and holds out again? Obviously there is no guarantee that happens but it is hard to imagine there being no Kam drama and him showing up to camp and being a team player like he was in ’13 if he hasn’t gotten a raise.

        The point of swapping Kam for Keanu with the 1st pick is true, but assuming Keanu is a PLAYER and fits in our defense; then that is a good trade. You might be losing some heartbeat but you are going from a 28 year old with a injury history to a fresh 21 year old rookie. As we discussed there is a $4.1m savings that could help us re-sign Okung in 2016.

        The risk of tipping our need at safety to the entire NFL is true, but I wonder if that can be mitigated by us having McCray. Have the FO put out there in the world of rumors and whispers that we love a WR or RB or LB at 26, and that we feel we have our next starting SS in McCray on the roster.

        BUT if Kam is ready to play under his current contract and not hold out and he shows up in 2016 in his 2013 form then doing anything with him would be pretty stupid. All of this is under the assumption that the Hawks won’t touch his contract and that he is going to be dramatic and hold out again.

      • mishima

        If Neal is there and you have a deal in place to trade Kam for a high/mid-second, I make that deal.

        • oz

          And so do I.

    • bobbyk

      I heard the Giants asked about Chancellor last year but the Seahawks said they wouldn’t discuss dealing him. I can see the Giants asking about him again because their GM will be fired if they don’t win this upcoming season. He knows that. Therefore, they may be willing to deal their second round pick for him. They are also oozing with cap space. With McCray as a stopgap for ’16, I could see this trade happening.

      It’s easy to say that it wouldn’t make us better for ’16, but if they drafted a guy early in the second AND had extra cap space to sign a guy like Wisniewski… that actually might make us better, especially if a guy like Jones were there with that second round pick from the Giants.

      Personally, as much as I like Kam… I think I’d rather have a young (and cheap) Jones and a Wisniewski (or insert any player we could get such as Rubin or whoever who will probably command somewhere around $3 million or a little more).

      • HI Hawk

        With Landon Collins on the roster, I don’t see what value Kam would bring the Giants. Their inquiry about Kam happened prior to the draft, before Collins became their 1st round pick so I think that ship has sailed. Collins is a liability in space, he is not a deep 1/3 guy, he’s best used as a box safety in the same vein as Kam.

  3. Volume12

    He’s the real deal.

    Not much this cat can’t do. I’m not conerned about prospects that miss tackles or don’t have proper technique, because Seattle is gonna teach a guy how to tackle their way and style anyways,

    He’d be a great hedge for Kam, fits the intimidation factor they want, ecspecially in the secondary and said to be a high character kid too.

    And the Deone Bucannon thing. He was a VMAC visitor remember. So it’s not like they’d be adverse to this type of player.

    It’s only a matter of time before NFL start designating a position like this. STAR, Bandit, whatever. And really it’d be smart. Where would the competition come from?

    • Nathan_12thMan

      To be clear; What is the Deone Bucannon role? Is this a situational role where he only comes out situationally? If we drafted Keanu Neal would he take over the Irvin job full time or would he be coming out situationally to be a Safety with Kam? But if they did that then who is going to the sidelines while he is out? I really don’t understand how he would be used.

      • Volume12

        You remove the SAM ‘backer.

        Your essentially put a smaller, faster player on the field. More and more teams are starting to spread you out. The SAMs are gonna start to go by the wayside.

        Bucannon is a defensive weapon honestly But technically, He’s a 3-4 inside ‘backer.

        In CFB, this position is called a STAR, Bandit, rover, etc.

        He’d be no different than a Deion Jones.

        • Volume12

          Think of it like this.

          These guys are the defensive version of Percy Harvin’s, Tavon Austin’s, Christian McCaffrey’s.

          The Keanu Neal’s, Bucannon’s, Shaq Thompson’s are unique. Playmakers, defensive weapons.

          I’m sure you’ve seen players listed as WR or OW (offensive weapon) or ATH (athlete). The above mentioned names are really DW.

          • Nathan_12thMan

            Oh okay, that is kinda what I was assuming. So by removing the SAM we’d move KJ Wright to WILL and plug Neal in at Linebacker? I assume on 3rd down he’d get off the field in place of a pass rusher right?

            If this solves the lack of Irvin on the roster then I am all for it.

            • Volume12

              Yeah- you could take him off the field for another pass rusher. Or a really cool thing you could do, line him up in the slot.

              It would give their defense the ultimate chess-piece and great creativity and flexibility.

              • Darth 12er

                I don’t think they would take him off the field on third down would they? You remember a couple years ago when they had Milloy, they used a bandit package. 7 db’s. They had a ‘big safety’ or a ‘big nickle’..can’t quite remember. Winston Guy was supposed to take over for Bigby. Anyway, I loved the bandit package, fun to watch and I thought it was super effective. I would be 100% for a move like this, bring the bandit back!

                • HI Hawk

                  This is why I think the defense will evolve to accommodate the best players. When Babs, Bigby, and Milloy were 3 of our best 11 defenders, they put them on the field together. When Clemons, Irvin, and Avril were 3 of our best defenders, they put them all on the field. Neal could play the Babs role, the Deathbacker role, the traditional SS role, the Cover LB role. It’s great that Pete and his staff have shown such creativity with personnel despite playing a pretty vanilla coverage scheme. Out executing, being faster, being consistent, and out working opponents is what matters – not fitting specific molds (other than Earl). That single high safety is still the lynchpin of the whole thing.

  4. Baldwin

    Interesting prospect and scenario. Id love to see a LB like this in SEA.

  5. Gray

    He’s very much ‘seahawky’. A true head hunter of a very stout gators D. He brings the fuel just like Kam does for the Hawks. Would be a great contributor on special teams and a very nice slab of clay for Pete and the L.O.B to mold. Next year the gator we’ll all be talking about is Jarrad Davis. Way to shed some light on a (not so) quiet prospect for us at #26, Rob.

    • Volume12

      Yeah- Jarrad Davis is big time. One of my favorite players for 2016.

      • Gray

        He’s in for a monster season. Another guy to keep an eye on is Tabor.

        • Nick

          Tell me about Tabor! Never heard of him.

          • Gray

            Played opposite of Hargreaves and in my opinion played just as good if not better than VH. 5 star out of high school and is 6-1′. Treadwell named him as the best DB he faced this season. The best is definitely saved for last in the vid. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=MeiaZg41hw4

        • oz

          While I was watching Rob’s Highlight reel of Neal, Tabor kept flashing. Watched more tape on Tabor and I have to say I like him a lot.

      • Nick

        I know we’ve talked about before, Vol12, but how amazing is Davis? The speed and intensity he brings to a defense. My goodness.

        • Volume12

          He’s special IMO. I haven’t seen a LB get from point A to point B so quick since Bobby Wagner.

          It’s funny though. When I watched Florida’s D this year, I was focusing on Davis and DT Caleb Brantley, keep an eye on him for a 3-tech role nect year BTW, it was Neal that flashed.

          But, yes. Davis is sensational. I got a man crush on him.

  6. Nick

    Look, we’ve seen that QBs are getting the ball out historically quick in today’s NFL. Short passes are the name of the game. Especially against the Seahawks. How did we win a Super Bowl against Peyton? We made them into a one-dimensional, short pass team and we pounded the heck out of ’em. And that was thru powerful tacklers and intimidation.

    Conversely, how did we lose a Super Bowl? Brady was able to get the ball out quickly, dink and dunk. PCJS are really good at recognizing trends and getting ahead of the curve. I don’t think it’s far-fetched that they’ve been thinking about how to counter this new trend in the passing game.

    A player like Neal could be the perfect, versatile, intimidating presence they want. They’ve got Kam for another two years. Pair him with this young stud where he can “show him the way.” It makes a lot of sense.

    • Volume12

      And that’s just it.

      These guys are gonna become so important in today’s game. And Seattle is always adapting, always evolving. Most of the time the Deone Bucannon’s fit best in a 3-4, but Seattle has 3-4 personnel in a 4-3 defense.

      I’d love this pick. I’ll use this word again. Unique.

  7. GawksAtHawks

    Like the idea of the pick but the writing will be on the wall for Kam. Hard to say how the relationship is between him and the f.o. is at the moment. Remember last year as fans we had no clue how upset Kam was until t.c. Either way though if Neal could be the next Kam and he is there at #26 you take him!

  8. Robert

    Displays an innate ability to covert speed to power better than any prospect I’ve seen. Some of his hits defy physics! I’ll dig deeper.

  9. Volume12

    Rob, ya done did it again my man!

    Hats off to you sir.

  10. Volume12

    Duke’s Jeremy Cash is interesting too. Not as big, more Bucannon size, not as good as Neal is, but 18.0 TFL is ridiculous!

  11. Willy

    Awesome write up, definitely wasn’t on my radar, but he absolutely is now. I like the comparison to Deone Buchannon, and I definitely think moving in that direction would be really good for the Seahawks. His highlight tape looks fast, and in the video (obviously, it’s a highlight tape, so it’s biased), it looked like he was really good about wrapping up and making a tackle, instead of gambling for interceptions, which has been a problem of late for Kam.Would love to see him and Bobby in our nickel packages, just denying anything in a 25 yard radius.

  12. Wall UP

    Great read Rob! I like him too. A versatile player that could fill multiple positions. If he improves his tracking skills and puts his head on a swivel for the ball, with a 4.4-5 40 he could also play RCB or Dime as well.

    If both Kam & Neal are both able to be on the field at the same time, what WR would have the guts to run a crossing route over middle? Look out! He definitely will bring more boom to the LOB.

    I can see them going up to get him like Lockett in the early 2nd Rd. Somewhere like 39-45.

  13. DD

    Wow! Look at how he destroy Derrick Henry!
    This is my first reply, I learned a lot from this blog.
    Just wanna say Thank you from Taiwan!
    Can this kid be had maybe later in the mid rounds?
    Most of the mockdraft doesn’t have any safeties in first rd range afterall.

    • Rob Staton

      Hey DD — thanks for checking in from Taiwan.

      By the time the draft comes around I’d expect Neal to be firmly graded in round one.

  14. CharlieTheUnicorn

    So let me get this straight…..

    LB Fackrell
    SS Neal
    OLB/SS Killebrew

    are all in play at #26…..

    Let the underwear Olympics and sexy SPARQ scores begin!

    • Steve Nelsen

      I thought Killebrew failed the arm length requirement at the Senior Bowl. But maybe the combine measurements will continue to be a bit longer than the Senior Bowl and put him back in play.

      • CharlieTheUnicorn

        Each of these players have something very unique about them and their play. If you think of Killibrew as a CB/S, then yes he comes up short. But if they see him as something else, perhaps his other intangibles and measuarables will make-up for “flaw”.

  15. seahawks509

    So are you saying he would be a LB for us? Kinda confused on that part, sorry. I know Deone plays LB but that size seems too small there. He seems like he has the frame to play CB for us.

    • nichansen01

      Kind of, a first and second down ‘bandit’ linebacker who could move into the slot on third downs and have a pass rusher rotate in.

    • Rob Staton

      Hey seahawks509,

      Yes he would be a linebacker/safety hybrid. Don’t worry about the size. Deone Bucannon is 5lbs lighter. This is the way the league is going. The days of three 250lbs linebackers are done.

      • seahawks509

        Im on board. I like him as a player but wasn’t sure how much impact he would have for us. In one of my recent mocks I had him going to Carolina at the end of the first, but to play S because they have a S/LB hybrid in Shaq Thompson.

  16. Seahawcrates

    At 4:25 or so of the highlight video the announcer talking about Neal becoming a different person on the field reminds me of Kam talking about going to a dark place. Some of those sticks in the video were Kam-like in the way the offensive player either drops or is jolted backwards. An eight yard gain becomes a defensive win because the shock waves of the hit energize the entire defense.

  17. Naks8

    This guy sounds legit athletically and I would love to have him on the team. My one question is how great is his football iq? The best part about kam is that his football iq is off the charts. As a former qb, he is aware of both the offensive and defensive schemes. If we want this guy to be a kam replacement one day he has to have the smarts too. And we know Pete values football iq too, seeing how he is putting players through their football masters programs

    • Rob Staton

      Nothing I’ve seen of Keanu Neal’s tape made me question his football IQ.

      • HI Hawk

        He’s been a favorite of mine since last year. Against Alabama he was continuously the thorn in the side, always the guy breaking up a pass, or making the tackle in space. I think a year of deathbacker and then moving in as the permanent SS next year is a great way to bring him along. If he’s there, I think you take him because SS/Tonesetter will be a HUGE need in 2017. I don’t see Kam holding up physically beyond this year (not to mention the strained business relationship with John).

  18. Steele

    Rob, this is an interesting idea, but I am not alone this is coming a bit out of left field. On the other hand, the Hawks have never been predictable, especially at the top. Neal would be the epitome of a bizarro Seahawks move. Not only a BPA pick, but also for a position with no need at all.

    I will not be among those who would applaud it. I am against using the limited opportunities for anything other than the crying need for help at the positions we know about, and for depth at other positions.

    • Rob Staton

      They’re going to need to replace Irvin somehow. It’s wrong to say this is a position with no need.

  19. Steele

    It might be helpful, Rob, to hear your comparison of Neal versus Sua Cravens. Can’t Cravens do a lot of the same things? I would certainly love seeing Cravens with the Seahawks for a lot of different reasons, in more of a LB role.

    • Rob Staton

      Neal >>>>> Cravens

      I’m confused Steele — you say you would be open to using Cravens in more of a LB role but you don’t support the suggestion of using Neal in the exact same way.

  20. CharlieTheUnicorn

    Stop it with the trade Kam talk. I have his jersey and need a few more good years of use out of it.

  21. Steele

    I am not at the moment a fan of Fackrell. Certainly not with #26. I see a high effort guy who gets blocked a lot at the point of attack, gets caught out of position a lot. Plays high. Not a lot of refinement to his pass rush, not much bend.

    He is awful in this 2013 film


    He is clearly better in 2015, but


    Looks like a lankier version of Rob Ninkovich. A “gritty” guy who contributes in a rotation but is not great at anything.

    • Rob Staton

      2013 was two years ago man. Let’s go back and judge every guys tape in their first year as a college starter. C’mon.

    • Attyla the Hawk

      Fackrell had a very good week of practice in Mobile and showed clear quality in the SB game.

      Not a fan of using a #1 on him. But I can see a guy who can be effective at the next level.

  22. EranUngar

    YES, YES, YES….

    Awesome work Rob. This is the kind of pick that could send ripples all over the team.

    I have not seen the guy but if he is that fast and physical “deathbacker” he will do more to improve the team than addressing some other “weaker position group.

    This Seahawks team was never about protecting itself and eliminating weaknesses by drafting for “needs”. This is a team that created absolute strengths and forced other teams to face up to their strengths. They forced defenses to play their physical running game and forced offenses to challenge the LOB or pay the price while they dink&donk.

    Being the bully enabled them to redirect the way teams faced them and it was that tone that won so many football games for them. Many point out to the lost snap on the first play of SB48 as a tone setter for that game. It wasn’t. The tone setter was on the next offensive play by Den. When Kam hit Demarius the way he did on that easy crossing route that game was over.

    I would love such a pick. It would be a tone setter inside the team. It would be a statement for all the young players on this team regarding what we want. It would be a clear message to Kam. It would just be a wonderful move.

    Love it Rob.

  23. RealRhino2

    Not at 26 for me. Good player, other equally good players at greater need.

    • Rob Staton

      Such as…?

      They do have other picks than just #26 remember.

      • RealRhino2

        Well, you’ve highlighted quite a few guys on your site that I would prefer at #26. I just think we might see a great player at a more important position than safety there at #26 (Eli Apple?), and if not, we should at least see a great player at a position of greater need. For me it’s an OL or DL

        Depends on what we do in FA, of course, but I would say as of now we need an OL that can play right away. Not project, not competition depth. Unlikely to be sure of that with our R2 pick, so as of now I’d say we have to get it in R1.

        • Rob Staton

          “I would say as of now we need an OL that can play right away.”

          Not always easy to find in round one when athleticism is valued higher than anything — and there are plenty of good OL options in rounds 2-3 that are just as likely to start early. Graham Glasgow for example.

    • Attyla the Hawk

      Here’s where it could make sense.

      If you assume we are looking at DL/OL. Then the options in R2/R3 are going to be good there. Economy of picks. You could get an impact player elsewhere and still improve at positions of need. Even getting day 1 starter quality

  24. EranUngar

    After my prematurely excited previous comment i went to watch Neal’s highlight film. Yes, i know, all highlights films are great…

    Then i went back and watched it again just for the fun of it.

    Now i pray he will not run the 40 in the 4.4s. 4.52 will be just fine for me. 4.55 is OK too. Nothing that will shoot him up the boards beyond 26.

    OMG, I love this guy. He reminded me of everything i missed all of last year.

    Can we have him? please? pretty please?

    • EranUngar

      Most players use their speed to close on their target and then wrap and bring it down. They usually drop their speed in the last step or two to ensure they wont miss their target due to a sudden last minute move.

      Neal just powers out in his last two steps. He doesn’t just tackle his target, he tackles through his target. He has that extra burst as he is about to hit just like Earl has when he fires up-field with that extra hard body boom that made Kam my favorite Seahawk.

      Those are traits you can’t teach. It is an innate drive to make it as physical as he can. It is way beyond “making the play”.

      Thank you Rob, it’s special moments like this that make you and this place irreplaceable.

  25. MisterNeutron

    Neal wasn’t on my radar before, but now he is. After watching film there are plenty of reasons to like him, including his number (42)–same digits that Ronnie Lott wore during his career.

  26. C-Dog

    Interesting player. At first, I was kind of repulsed by the idea of taking a safety so early, seeing greater needs on the front end of both sides of the ball. But this whole evolving spread offenses, playing the Cardinals twice a year, it looks like a solid plan. Having another physical gadgety player makes a ton of sense. Carroll Ds have always featured a strong presence at SAM. I think that’s why I’ve looked at Fackrell, Spence, and Perry, a few others as more likely candidates.

    Plus, I agree with the idea of having a solid plan in place for Kam. I kind of have a sinking feeling that situation could continue going down the path of weird. My one thought of concern is, if taking a player like that at 26, how that effects Kam. You’re kind of saying, “Hey, we just drafted your eventual replacement, and we can’t offer you more money.” Of course, he can take that two ways; 1, come into camp ready to reclaim his status as the most intimidating focused strong safety in the game, or 2, take another stupid stance, and when Seattle doesn’t cave, come in behind the 8 ball a month or into the season creating a whole mess of awkward and disfunction all over again. I would think he would choose option 1, but again, last year at this time, I would have never imagined him holding out in the first place.

  27. CharlieTheUnicorn

    I’ve been kicking around Seattle trading back to the high 2nd round… and come up with 3 likely teams. 1) Cowboys, 2) Chargers and 3) Ravens. I would normally include the Rams, but no way they would do a deal… even though they have the right combo of draft picks (and have extras) for the #26 pick.

    It would be roughly a high second round pick + a high 4th round pick for the #26 pick.

    I’ve purposely excluded picks in 2017, just to keep this an easy mental exercise.

  28. KD

    Thanks for highlighting this guy Rob. Man, the guy hits like a missile and seems to have good instincts to boot. The Fury Road soundtrack was the seller though.

  29. Ukhawk

    Boy Neal looks like a Seahawk. Liking him as an option but in terms of immediacy, assuming Kam stays, I’m not so sure in R1 >OL

    • Rob Staton

      With all of these scenarios, it’s important to imagine that they can sign OL in free agency and use rounds 2-4 where there is likely to be some nice depth in the interior O-line.

      • Trevor

        I never dreamed of a guy like Neal in Rd #1 but after watching the tape it would make perfect sense. He is exactly what they want in a tone setter. Much harder to find a guy like him than an interior lineman so I am all for using a 1st rounder on a guy like that and finding interior lineman later.

        Rob do you think Garnet would be there at the end of Rd #2? Does he fit what we look for at LG?

        • oz

          I think the Hawks would run to the podium if Garrnett were there @56.

    • Trevor

      If Kam stays then I agree there is no immediate need but he would still be a great addition as Kam is clearly in decline. As Rob said he could still play the hybrid LB role.

      I know I am in the minority but I don’t think there is anyway Kam comes back on the same deal as he had stated when the hold out ended he expected them to do something on the off season. I also don’t think there is anyway Seattle will or should do anything so I am not sure how this gets resolved for Kam to be happy. I think the chances of him being traded is far greater than 50% I just think his trade value has diminished a lot after last year. He is clearly a liability in pass coverage now.

      When you consider this I think re-signing Okung and drafting Neal at #26 is a far better option than keeping Kam and hoping a starting caliber OT falls to us at #26.

      • Thorson

        Although PC did single out Kam along with Russ and ET as players who were going to “football graduate school” after the season. He might have just been blowing smoke, but it’s clear the front office values Kam perhaps more than we think. As Rob points out above, adding Kam, arguably the most intimidating remaining player, to the loss of Marshawn and likely Irvin changes the tone of the franchise significantly, which would be a bit odd given the professed desire to get tougher. Also the team already has KPL (if he can ever stay healthy) and potentially Pinkins as smaller, explosive linebacker types who have a year or more in the Seahawks system. I wouldn’t be adverse to Neal in the context of the scenario of addressing needs through free agency, but the Hawks’ cap space is limited, so I’m not sure how much room they will have to be able to fill needs. I guess I have a hard time seeing this as the Hawks’ pick at 26, but that’s the fun part of blogs like this – imagining all the myriad scenarios and how interesting players like Neal might fit. Thanks Rob!

        • HI Hawk

          I see Neal specifically as Kam’s replacement no later than 2017, he might play some hybrid role his rookie year, much like Kam did. I think he’s an ideal SS in this defense. Frank Clark was the Hawks first pick last year, was the Bennett position a big need? Michael a couple years ago while Beastmode was still beasting. They seem to look ahead, so immediate needs don’t always match early round picks. The Kam position will be a need in 2017 anyway, could be a need in 2016 depending on what happens during the offseason/camp.

    • Drew

      Remember, PCJS don’t just draft for immediate needs, but for the next year and 2 down the road.

  30. Sea Mode

    Wow, and ball skills as well apparently. Hopefully you can do a piece showing some weaknesses that he would need to work on so we get a more complete perspective, but this looks like a guy I could definitely get excited about in R1.

  31. Trevor

    Rob love this guy as well. I had him rated as the best strong safety in the class with the best free safety being the kid from Boise St.

    I have been in favor of going OL/DL early in the draft but Neal makes a ton of sense if he is as fast and physical as he looks on tape. If he runs in the 4.4s then I think he will definitely be the first safety off the board and #26 sounds about right.

  32. Trevor

    I thought Pete’s praise of Bennet yesterday on how he handled things and silence on Kam spoke volumes.

    I know it is kind of a taboo subject on here but he really would be the ideal replacement for Kam and allow them to get a younger, faster enforcer on the back end.

    If they Traded Kam for even an early 3rd round pick and freed up $4.5 mil mil in cap space they could re-sign Okung and eliminate the LT need. Draft Garnet in the 2nd to play LG and a Center like Glasgow to compete with Lewis with one of our (3) 3rd round picks.

    Then take Neal in the 1st Rd who could either replace Kam or play the Hybrid LB type role and let Mcray play SS. It would keep the physicality and greatly improve the speed of the defense.

  33. Drew

    WOW after watching that tape, he needs to be a Hawk. He could play WILL and have KJ move to SAM and then he could move to SS once Kam is gone depending on if it’d be easier to get another SS or another OLB.

    He just screams physicality that our D missed last year.

  34. John_s

    He’s an interesting prospect.

    You can bring back the Big Play Babs package that Babs and Milloy played so well

  35. Sea Mode

    I must say I am also a bit worried that this would be exactly the type of player Scot McCloughan would be looking for in DC. “Instinctive Scouting” was his business… and still is.

    ( In case anyone missed the story on him in ESPN Mag from back in Dec. 2014 here’s a link: http://espn.go.com/espn/feature/story/_/id/12014699/scot-mccloughan-nfl-best-talent-scout-self-employed-living-farm )

  36. Dylan

    Informal poll then, Neal or Jones, who do you prefer?

    • HI Hawk

      Neal in a landslide.

  37. oz

    He has that “it” factor JS talked about. Toughness and instincts. Definitely a tone setter. Ball Hawk and football IQ are very apparent.

  38. oz

    I think the Hawks would run to the podium if Garrnett were there @56.

  39. oz

    I would also like to say if we could get a 2nd and 4th for Chancellor, I would do the deal.

  40. RealRhino2

    Anybody’s “draft crush” already seem to shine less bright because of the measurements? I mean the mid-round/small school guy you really liked as a sleeper? And now you find out he’s smaller than you thought? Slower? Lighter? Heavier?

    Mine was Harlan Miller. Loved him as a ballhawking corner, find out he has really short arms, probably not for us.

  41. Jarhead's Sokoli Bandwagon

    Haven’t read a single other comment so this could just be redundant, but THIS is an out of the box pick that I could get behind. As opposed to Jones who is undersized for his position an plays a position that isn’t an impact position, Neal would be a Deone Buchannon style box safety who could potentially learn from Chancellor. I would loathe Jones with our first pick, considering it a complete and total waste. But Neal offers similar size, a background as a S, equal or superior athleticism and would hedge our bet against Chancellors nonsense. Maybe a young dog barking at his heels would make him feel mortal again. I would dig this pick

  42. Bill Bobaggins

    I’ve seen a lot of “but why are we just hearing about him now” type of comments here. Isn’t that exactly the type of guy we’ve seen PCJS go after early in the draft since taking over? Carpenter, Irvin, Richardson…they love finding “their guy” while giving the middle finger to the rest of the league.

    While I don’t think that this is the biggest area of need, you never know what they’ll do in FA in order to make sure they can get a kid like this.

    He looks like a beast…my only issue with him…he could be a flag magnet is the ever-softening NFL. I’d take that risk though.

  43. Kip Earlywine

    This guy has “it” factor, doesn’t he? I doubt Seattle would take a strong safety in the first round but I wouldn’t mind being wrong in this case.

  44. RWIII

    Yesterday it was Germain Ifedi. Today it is Keanu Neal. Who is it going to be tomorrow? Wednesday?

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