Packers Mike Neal: 2012 Player Evaluation and Report Card All Green Bay Packers All the Time

1) Introduction: With the departure of Cullen Jenkins to the Eagles via free agency after the 2010 Super Bowl campaign, the Packers drafted the Purdue lineman in the 2nd round.  After that, nothing has really gone right in his career.  Neal has constantly been hurt, often landing on IR and to make matters worse, Neal was suspended for the 1st 4 games of the season for taking a banned substance, later found out to be Adderall (which also ironically started a trend in the NFL players using Adderall).

2) Profile:

Michael Jamel Neal

  • Age: 25
  • Born: 06/26/1987, in Merrillville, IN
  • Height: 6’3″
  • Weight: 294
  • College: Purdue
  • Rookie Year: 2010
  • NFL Experience: 3 years

Career Stats and more: 

3) Expectations coming into the season: Optimistic skepticism was probably all that Neal garnered at the beginning of the year.  While Neal has the physique and strength to dominate the 3-4 DE spot, the fact that Neal could never stay on the field contributed to the Packers lack of faith in relying on Neal alone.  Added to the fact that he was banned from the 1st 4 games left many feeling that anything positive from Neal was good enough

4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: Neal’s best performance was definitely against the Bear in week 15 where he recorded 2 sacks, 2 quarterback hurries and 1 negative offensive play (though it should be said that Jay Cutler does seem to love getting sacked by the Packers for some reason).  His low-light was definitely getting banned for the 1st 4 games of the year and hoping that the Packers still wanted him enough to drop Philip Merling, his replacement.

5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: While Neal didn’t do all that much in the 1st half of the season, once he got settled down, Neal was fairly consistent as the pass rusher opposite to Clay Matthews.  Neal will have to work on his run defense (which is odd considering his massive strength), but Neal was arguably the best pass rusher on the defensive line.

6) Player’s contributions in the playoffs: Neal played fairly well against the Vikings, recording 1 quarterback hit and 4 hurries but again was part of the line that was destroyed by Colin Kaepernick in the divisional round.


Season Report Card:

(C) Level of expectations met during the season

(C-) Contributions to team’s overall success.

(C) Contributions to team during the playoffs

Overall Grade: C


Thomas Hobbes is a staff writer for Jersey Al’s


  • I’ve been one of those that have been very critical of T.T. when it comes to drafting defensive line players. I was also critical of him for letting Jenkins go. When it came to Neal I felt he had been drafted 2 or 3 rounds early as most “Experts”, had him going somewhere in the 4th or 5th(who are these experts anyways). With that said, Neal showed me something this year and left me hopeful for next season, especially if he stays healthy. I agree with Thomas about his run stuffing ability. They say Neal set several records in the Purdue weight room and he’s strong as bull yet he seems to struggle against big physical O-Lines. I’m really hoping that 2013 is the season where Neal seems to put it all together.

  • Razer

    Overall, pretty sad assessment for the D-line. Would have been nice to have an ‘A’ and at least one ‘B’ for this unit. I think that it is pretty obvious that we need some more talent here.

  • Ron LC

    Neal finally showed some of the ability he should have at a #2 pick. He needs to stay healthy and begin to play on the other side of the line consistently to make the move up the fans have been waiting for. I’ll admit to some potential finally, but he needs to show a whole lot more to get any where near Jenkins.

    Time for Capers to unleash the front seven on an every play basis.

  • Stroh

    Gee how did I know Neal would get a C? Wha t a surprise… I would give Neal a B. His role is primarily a pass rusher and got good consistent pressure. 5 sacks as a DL id good work.

    My grades would based on the role and expectations individually.
    Pickett. B+
    Raji. B-
    Worthy. D+
    Wilson. C+
    Daniel. C+
    Neal. B

  • Eric

    Seriouly pretty lame assessments. Not every packer is in the C to C-minus range. Mix it up! In fact, you are being too kind to most of these guys

    • Thomas Hobbes

      Sorry that’s what I graded them as, I didn’t think anyone really stood out as absolutely terrible or absolutely terrific, hence all the C’s.

  • Buddy

    Being from Indiana, I watched Purdue play alot. I said the same thing about Neal as I did about Brees,give them a few years and they will not let you down.
    PU has turned out some really good Defensive players over the years,so I am counting on my really poor scouting skills for Neal. lol

  • lambeauleaper

    I really believe that Neal deserves a better grade,given his undeserved four game suspension and a couple more weeks to get up to speed,I think that Neal and Clay really got something going at the end of the season.If Clay would have been healthy in the middle of the season,I think they could have had something relly special going.I’m looking forware to next season when they will hve all off season to work on thier play together!

  • Barutan Seijin

    I think that Neal got benched somewhere in the middle of the playoff loss to SF. He disappeared, and i didn’t hear about him getting hurt. You could say that he was part of the line that CK shredded, but then after further review, MM decided that he wasn’t even at that level. Or maybe he was out there but just invisible. Either way, he didn’t earn a playoff C in my book.