Falcons Select Keanu Neal With Top Pick in 2016 Draft

Kim Klement-USA TODAY SportsFlorida SS Keanu Neal

The Atlanta Falcons selected Florida safety Keanu Neal with their top selection, the 17th overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. Neal will be slotted in to play strong safety for the Falcons, where he will be replacing William Moore, who was cut at the outset of the offseason.

Neal was partially recruited by Falcons head coach Dan Quinn when he was the defensive coordinator at the University of Florida in 2011 and 2012. However, Quinn returned to coordinate the Seattle Seahawks defense in 2013 when Neal enrolled at Florida.

Since then, Neal was the Gators’ co-leader with five special-teams tackles during his freshman year. He was promoted to the starting lineup as a sophomore, starting eight of 10 games. He missed two games due to a high-ankle sprain, but still managed to finish the year with 45 tackles, three interceptions and four pass breakups. As a junior he started 11 games, missing a pair of games due to a hamstring injury. He finished the year with 96 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, one interception and one pass breakup.

Neal is a fierce hitter that made his name defending the run against physical SEC offenses like Alabama.

Check out Neal’s highlight clip:

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Aaron Freeman
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