1) Introduction: As a second-round NFL Draft pick in 2010, Neal has been somewhat of a disappointment. It’s only been in the last two years where he’s been able to play full 16-game seasons without missing time due to injury. He’s had some success, as well, as a recent “elephant” hybrid DE/OLB.
2) Profile: Mike Neal
- Age: 27
- Born: 06/26/1987 in Gary, IN
- Height: 6’3″
- Weight: 285
- College: Purdue
- Rookie Year: 2010
- NFL Experience: 5 years
3) Expectations coming into the season: After having his best season in 2013, Mike Neal came into this season a bit lighter on his feet. Shedding some pounds has helped him play his new hybrid role a bit better, and it seems to have had a positive effect on his injury risk. The hope for this season was to build on what he started last year.
4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: There hasn’t been much – positive or negative – when it comes to Mike Neal’s highlight reel. Perhaps the biggest play he made was the Tom Brady sandwich sack in tandem with Mike Daniels to help ice the game.
5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: Mike Neal’s biggest role was as a run stuffer on the edges. In that regard, he was kind of like the antithesis to Julius Peppers, who was much more of a pass rushing specialist. He was the third most used OLB, with almost twice as many snaps taken as Nick Perry. Neal also ranked fourth in sacks on the team, just one behind Mike Daniels.
6) Player’s contributions in the playoffs: During the postseason, Mike Neal continued his solid, if unspectacular, performance from the regular season. Outside of a sack against Tony Romo, he didn’t have many impact plays.
7) Intangibles: Mike Neal’s strength is in his strength. He doesn’t get blown off the line easily, and he has become a solid contributor along the line.
Season Report Card (Player Grades):
(B) Level of expectations met during the season
(B-) Contributions to team’s overall success.
(B-) Contributions to team during the playoffs
Overall Grade: B-——————Follow @ChadToporski