The Falcons surprised more than a few people last night when they selected Florida safety Keanu Neal with the 17th pick, and while I wasn't stunned by it, passing up on players like Myles Jack, Darron Lee, and Shaq Lawson in the front seven is the kind of move that will earn you a lot of fire from the fanbase if Neal doesn't pan out in a major way.
Others have already given their take on the selection here at The Falcoholic, but after sleeping on it, I still like Neal in Atlanta a lot. Would I have preferred to see the Falcons swap down a bit and then pick him, under the assumption that he would have been there at say pick #22 or #23? Absolutely. Does it diminish the quality of the player they got? No, not in the slightest.
The Falcons were, based solely on what I've heard to this point, not going to be able to get Neal in the second round, so they made a move to get they player they loved. If they're right, this defense just got a lot better, and if they're wrong, wholesale change might be coming to the coaching staff and front office a lot sooner than any of us had hoped. Considering this is supposed to be the team's Kam Chancellor and the Seahawks acquired Kam Chancellor in the fifth round, the pressure's already on.
Here's what you need to know for tonight.
Second & Third Rounds
When: Friday, April 29, 7 p.m.
TV Channels: ESPN & NFL Network
Time Per Pick: 7 minutes for the 2nd round, 5 minutes for the 3rd round