5 recent Falcons players who came so close to NFL stardom

Five players who were on the verge of being the best in the NFL for the Falcons.
Atlanta Falcons v New Orleans Saints
Atlanta Falcons v New Orleans Saints / Chris Graythen/GettyImages
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3. Keanu Neal, S

Keanu Neal will always be one of my favorites because he played defense how defense was supposed to be played.

The former first-round pick quickly made his name known as one of the hardest hitters in the league and Dan Quinn's new version of Kam Chancellor. He played like he wanted to knock the brains out of every offensive player he went against. Remember when the concerns popped up about Neal's playing style when the NFL banned lowering the helmet in 2018?

Anyway, his trajectory in the league was only going up after he made the Pro Bowl in 2017. Unfortunately, injuries would stop that dead in its tracks.

In week one of the 2018 season, Neal left, returned, and then left the game again due to injury. It was revealed he tore his ACL, ending his season. After a year of rehab, he was back on the field for the 2019 season but tore his Achilles in week four.

As we all know, one season-ending injury is bad enough but two in a row is career-changing. Who knows what impact this hard-hitting safety would have had if not for his terrible luck.