Who the Hell is This Rajion Neal Character?
We’re going to look at another one of these guys we’ve never heard of who suddenly seem to have a shot at making the Green Bay Packers roster. Today, running back Rajion Neal.
Neal caught our attention in the Packers first preseason game by running five times for 39 yards and a touchdown.
Here’s the touchdown run. Watch him take out that shitbird there at the goal line. He probably does that to A.J. Hawk everyday in practice.
You’re probably wondering why Neal only got five carries on Saturday. Well, he injured his knee returning a kick. He’s missed both practices since the game too.
Although no one seems concerned that it’s a long-term injury, let’s be honest. Neal is still a long shot to make the roster, so he needs to get back on the field sooner rather than later.
At any rate, let’s learn about Rajion Neal.
You will not be surprised to find out that Neal is part of this year’s undrafted free agent crop. He played his college ball at Tennessee, where he rushed for 1,124 yards, 15 TDs and averaged 5.2 yards per carry as a senior.
Those are pretty good numbers and they were put up at a major college program, so how the hell did this guy go undrafted? The knocks on Neal are that he isn’t a strong finisher and doesn’t have great speed. In other words, he isn’t running through or around anyone.
From the limited sample that we’ve seen, those negatives appear to be debatable. He may not be a burner, but Neal certainly appears to have enough speed. The end of that touchdown run seems to suggest he has some ability to finish as well.
It has been suggested that Neal was a product of Tennessee’s zone blocking scheme. Well, guess who else employs elements of the zone blocking scheme.
The Green Bay Packers.
Although it’s a crowded backfield, Neal appears to have made a wise choice by signing with the Packers in terms of fitting the scheme.
Here are some college highlights.
Almost seems like that guy could play in the NFL, huh?
We’re not going to start comparing Neal with Arian Foster, another undrafted running back from Tennessee, just yet though. Neal has a ways to go and he’ll have to continue to impress if he’s going to make the roster.
The Packers have Eddie Lacy and James Starks entrenched at the top of the depth chart. They also have former starter DuJuan Harris currently sitting at No. 3.
After Saturday’s lackluster performance — seven carries for 18 yards — we’re no longer comfortable saying Harris is a lock to make the roster.
If Neal has designs on sticking around, he’ll have to beat out Harris for the No. 3 spot or play well enough for the Packers to keep four running backs.
Monty McMahon is one of the founders of Total Packers. He is probably the most famous graduate of UW-Oshkosh next to Jim Gantner.