Type to search

Mike Neal: Project

Mike Neal: Looking good... on paper.

It’s only one opinion, but the Green Bay Packers’ second-round draft choice, Purdue defensive tackle Mike Neal, could be a project.

Personally, I was dumbfounded when Packers’ GM Ted Thompson selected Neal in the second round. Certainly, the Packers had more pressing needs than a college defensive tackle who would convert to defensive end in the pros. Beyond that, you had to wonder why Thompson selected Neal in the second round when some experts had him rated as a fifth-round selection.

Well, apparently the reason is my favorite tool for measuring absolutely nothing that translates to playing on Sunday – the NFL Scouting Combine.

Neal posted 31 reps on the bench press at the combine, which suggests he has the strength to win the battle at the point of attack. However, Wes Bunting suggests differently.

… after posting 31 reps on the bench at the combine, Neal was considered a prospect who possessed outstanding strength and power at the point of attack, which was something that failed to consistently show up on tape. He does have a good-looking frame and possesses the ability to add more girth and muscle to his lower half, but I really think he jumped up draft boards because of his weight room numbers. I simply don’t see him being ready to come in and consistently win at the point vs. NFL-caliber linemen.

That’s marvelous.

Like the Packers’ organization, I’m willing to give Neal a chance, but it looks like he’ll take some time to develop. Just another example of Ted Thompson’s win now sometime strategy.


Monty McMahon

Monty McMahon is one of the founders of Total Packers. He is probably the most famous graduate of UW-Oshkosh next to Jim Gantner.



  1. Rubicon May 6, 2010

    You’re correct..It is just an opinion. I’m certain TT knows significantly more than any reporter about evaluating talent and the needs of the team…So the fact that you happened to be dumbfounded has no significance.

  2. Rubicon May 6, 2010

    Also, his draft stock went up in the weeks prior to the draft, so I think you’re information is very dated. Neal was the best DE available at the time, and if TT decided to wait to pick him with the way DE’s were flying off the board I doubt he would have been available.

  3. jeremy May 6, 2010

    I know we all wanted an OLB in round two but after Neal was drafted no one took a 3-4 OLB prospect until Gibson went in round 4.

    I have to seriously question Wes Buntings analysis here. Thompson has repeatedly stated he almost never moves guys up based on combine numbers.

    TT quotes about changing the board based on the combine from Bob McGinn’s article.

    “By the time you get to the draft, those names go back to the original place they were before we came to the combine,” Thompson said. “I swear it happens.

    “You go back and watch the tape and say, ‘You know what? We’re nuts.’

    “So, as much as we can, we try to lean on the football stuff and say, ‘Is he a good player? Does he like to play the game?’

    “If he can do those things, he has a chance to be a Packer.”

    Of course I don’t agree with TT ignoring FA and trades as a way to improve the team. I don’t like all of the guys he drafts, but Bunting is just making stuff up here.

  4. Yoop May 10, 2010

    The thing that throws the whole who had who rated where is the difference in what is looked for in prospects as 4-3 DE, 4-3 3 technique and 4-3 DT and 3-4 DE in this instance.

    And then also add in what Capers looks for and wants from a 3-4 DE.
    Neal fits that VERY well. His agility, his strength and his quickness all make him a TOP prospect for a 3-4 DE.

    Just go and compare his testing numbers to Suh, McCoy, Odrick and then look at that he did not come out of games.
    Look at what Purdue asked him to do.

    Now go and look at the other 3-4 teams in the NFL and where they drafted players that the so called experts had rated much lower.
    Neal is not an anomaly, he just shows the difference in what 3-4 teams look for and rate higher for there different needs.

  5. me May 10, 2010

    isn’t every draft pick a “project”?