Weight: 206 pounds
School: Jacksonville State Gamecocks
Combine Performance Data
40-yard dash: 4.56 seconds
Vertical jump: 40.5 inches
Broad jump: 10 feet 2 inches
Three-cone drill 7 seconds
20-yard shuttle: 4.28 seconds
Siran Neal 2018 Draft Profile
The family is an integral part of this young man’s life, and he has a large one. Siran Neal has six sisters, one brother, and twin daughters of his own. These folks are undoubtedly proud of his accomplishments and excited about what the future has in store.
The 2018 draft class has a bevy of talented defensive backs, most from power conferences. Neal, however, hails from lesser known Jacksonville State of the Ohio Valley Conference. He didn’t get much national television coverage, but he found his way to the Senior Bowl and the NFL Combine anyway.
Neal played his high school ball in Alabama, where he was an all-state wide receiver in both 2011 and 2012. Once he arrived at Jacksonville State, coaches decided he would be better suited to play defensive back. Neal accepted his new role with enthusiasm. NFL Network draft analyst Bucky Brooks encourages young receivers to consider such a move.
“There’s a shortage of cornerback talent due to the obsession with touching the ball on offense,” Brooks remarked. He went on to point out “If you’re 6’0″ at wide receiver, you’re just another guy. If you’re that height at cornerback with movement skills, you are viewed as special.”
Jack of All Trades
During his time at Jacksonville State, Neal got experience playing safety, slot corner, boundary corner, and even linebacker. Coaches described his position as “nickel sam” because of its fluidity. As a freshman, Neal didn’t get on the field a whole lot. He managed 32 tackles on the season and had a solid playoff performance against Sam Houston State. In that game, he racked up a team-high ten tackles, seven of them solo takedowns.
As a sophomore, Siran Neal played in every game and even started versus Murray State. He was beginning to make an impact in games and showcase his skills. The young prospect showed an ability to play press coverage and wrap up the ball carrier. Coaches noticed his proficiency at the line of scrimmage, and he was moved to linebacker for the 2016 season. Neal was all over the field as a junior. He finished the year with 11.5 of his 80 tackles resulting in lost yardage, along with an interception.
By the time his senior season rolled around, it was clear Siran Neal had NFL potential. In an effort to make him more of a complete defender, Neal was moved again. For the 2017 season, he would function as a press corner. Once more, he was up to the task as evidenced by 39 stops and a team-high 11 pass breakups. Earning an invite to the Senior Bowl put Siran Neal firmly on the NFL’s radar.
- Experienced at safety, corner, and linebacker;
- Plays the line of scrimmage effectively;
- Quickly diagnoses the play and immediately shifts to give run support when needed;
- Big hitter for his size, effective wrap-up tackler who drives through his target;
- Able to high point the ball and battle with receivers for it;
- Physical at the release point to effectively disrupt timing routes;
- Stays with his man downfield and isn’t afraid to crowd him;
- Possesses the lateral movement to adjust or give help in zone coverage.
- Tends to grab if he’s beaten off the line;
- Struggles against quick release and inside slants;
- Recognizes a run play quickly, but almost never able to jump routes;
- Lateral movement in man coverage is a little sloppy;
- Doesn’t display exceptional instincts;
- Lack of experience at corner and safety because of all the positional changes.
NFL Comparison: Eric Rowe
Projected Round: Late fourth – early fifth round
Siran Neal could be a great value in the later rounds. Where he ultimately lines up is scheme dependent. Expect to see him around the line of scrimmage giving run support. His willingness to grab a jersey when he’s beaten makes him a penalty risk, but that can be fixed by proper coaching.
There are some holes in his coverage game, but Neal can be an effective backup or nickel corner out of the gate. He hasn’t developed the ball skills to play high safety at the next level, but he would match up well against tight ends. His play recognition and tackling prowess makes him valuable to any team in need of a defensive back, especially considering the draft capital it will take to acquire him.