Both the Pittsburgh Steelers and Arizona Cardinals are reportedly looking to find upgrades at the safety position this offseason, and one potential prospect that both teams could look to target in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft is Florida Gators safety Keanu Neal, according to Tony Pauline of Walter Football.
The Gators safety has reportedly been timing in the high 4.4s at 212 pounds, and he is receiving "glowing reports," according to Pauline. Neal is a physical safety that has no problem laying the wood and could make a strong fit in either Arizona or Pittsburgh's secondary.
"He looks like an NFL safety. Looks like he can run on tape and is exactly what you look for in a run support," an NFC defensive backs coach said, via NFL Network. "He's an athlete so I don't worry about his cover skills as long as his instincts are okay." The Gators hard-hitting safety has drawn comparisons to Saints strong safety Kenny Vaccaro, who was a first round pick by New Orleans in the 2013 NFL Draft.
The Gators junior safety struggled with a hamstring issue at the beginning of the 2015 college football season, but he was still a force in the SEC, recording 84 total tackles, 3.5 tackles for a loss, two sacks and an interception. Neal was a big reason for the Gators dominant defense and uses his speed and force to take down running backs and wide receivers of any size.
Defensive backs perform on-field workouts on Monday at the 2016 NFL Combine, and if Neal puts up strong numbers, expect his draft stock to continue to rise. The Steelers have the 25th pick in the 2016 NFL Draft four spots ahead of the Cardinals, and they could look to land an impact safety, as that is something they have missed since safety Troy Polamalu retired following the 2014 season.