Atlanta Falcons’ Keanu Neal is a top five strong safety
Keanu has been incredible for the Atlanta Falcons as he was one of the key pieces for the Falcons defense. While he does not have a lot of interceptions, he does force a lot of fumbles.
Many fans thought selecting Keanu Neal was a reach during the 2016 NFL Draft. All of the “experts” thought the Falcons should have selected Myles Jack, Shaq Lawson, or Darron Lee with the 17th overall selection. Thankfully the Atlanta Falcons did not listen to the fans or the media and made a phenomenal selection.
After declaring for the NFL Draft Keanu Neal’s pro comparison was Seahawks strong safety Kam Chancellor. When the Atlanta Falcons selected Keanu the comparison became a reality. He is the perfect box safety for the Falcons and meshes well in their cover three scheme.
Keanu Neal had a fantastic rookie season playing fourteen games totaling 106 tackles and five forced fumbles. He missed the first two games of the 2016 season to injury and made his rookie debut against the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football. The most memorable play during his rookie campaign was his vicious hit on Mike Evans.
In 2017 Keanu Neal was able to elevate his play for the Atlanta Falcons with 116 tackles, three forced fumbles, and an interception. Since 2011 the Falcons have struggled covering tight ends like Jimmy Graham, Vernon Davis, and Greg Olson. Thanks to Keanu the Falcons are able to neutralize tight ends in the passing game. Neal also made his first Pro Bowl during the 2017 season.
Unfortunately, the 2018 season was not kind to Keanu Neal. In week one against the Philadelphia Eagles he tore his ACL and would miss the entire 2018 season. The Falcons defense was riddled with injuries in 2018.
When healthy Keanu Neal is a top five strong safety in the NFL. It is hard to pinpoint who the top 5 strong safeties are because veterans like Eric Berry, Harrison Smith, and Malcolm Jenkins have started to fall off.
The current top five strong safeties in no particular order are Jamal Adams, Derwin James, Keanu Neal, Rashad Jones, and Adrian Amos. Right behind this group of five are Malcolm Jenkins, Harrison Smith, Eric Berry, and Landon Collins. Strong safety is a talented positional group in the NFL and Keanu Neal ranks among the top five at the position.