About the Author
Recent posts by Dan Arkush
I will be very anxious to hear how Packers GM Ted Thompson will attempt to justify the second-round selection (56th overall) of Purdue DE Mike Neal.
My best guess is that Thompson is looking at the 6-3, 294-pounder as an insurance policy for DLE Johnny Jolly, a restricted free agent who hasn't signed his tender and whose status is clouded by his pending trial for felonious possession of codeine from a 2008 arrest in Houston.
But based on everything I've heard and read about this well-built Boilermaker, Neal is better-suited as a three-technique tackle.
Beyond that, while he does pass the eyeball test with flying colors, has excellent strength and has good initial quickness that enables him to penetrate gaps pretty effectively, the word from the scouting community is that his motor runs hot and cold, and he too often gets blown off the ball by double-teams.
Obviously, Thompson and Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers, who did a masterful job in his first season with personnel that many observebelieved have real problems converting to his 3-4 scheme, see something in Neal that they must really like to have taken him in the second round.
But this is a defender that PFW projected as a third-round pick at best, and possibly a fourth-rounder.
Granted, Neal made a very positive impression in the East-West Shrine Game, looking dominant at times.
But while Green Bay's first-round selection of OT Bryan Bulaga was as safe and solid as can be, the selection of Neal must be considered a bit of a head scratcher until further notice.
For the most authoritative NFL draft news and free-agency analysis, visit ProFootballWeekly.com.