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Falcons draft picks 2016: Keanu Neal lands in Atlanta with the 17th pick

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The hard-hitting safety is a player Dan Quinn apparently fell in love with, and he'll be an instant starter for Atlanta.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

There was plenty of buzz around the Falcons and Keanu Neal, but it was only in recent days that the possibility of the Florida safety becoming a first round pick gained steam. Now he'll be an Atlanta Falcon,and the team's slam dunk starting strong safety in 2016 and beyond.

Neal will dabble some at linebacker, but his physicality, athleticism, and instincts make him an ideal fit for safety in Dan Quinn's scheme, which is why he was the pick in the first place. When you have the best player at a position of need for your scheme available, I can see why it would be hard to pass that player up, even if guys like Myles Jack and Shaq Lawson are available.

The primary questions with this pick are whether the Falcons reached (which is a tired question, let's see if he justifies the selection), whether he'll remember to wrap up and tackle consistently, and whether he'll always make the right decisions in coverage or not. Given time and some coaching, I think he can be a true impact safety in this league, but he won't be a finished product out of the box, and we all need to realize that.

As trite as it is to say this, Dan Quinn has his Kam Chancellor. Now we'll see if Neal is anywhere near as good as Chancellor, and we'll hope he's one of the pieces this team team needs to finally have a physically, truly dominant defense. I like the pick.

Stay tuned for more analysis on this pick.

Falcons Selections

Round 1, Pick #17: S Keanu Neal
Round 2, Pick #50
Round 3, Pick #81
Round 4, Pick #115
Round 7, Pick #238

Top Remaining Needs

#1: Linebacker

#2: Pass rusher

#3: Guard

#4: Tight end

#5: Cornerback

Draft Schedule & Channels

Second & Third Rounds

When: Friday, April 29, 7 p.m.

TV Channels: ESPN & NFL Network

Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, & Seventh Rounds

When: Saturday, April 30, 12 p.m.

TV Channels: ESPN & NFL Network

2016 Draft Order

Full Falcons draft stream