More Bucs Rumblings For Keanu Neal

April 20th, 2016
Gators safety Keanu Neal

Gators safety Keanu Neal

Just eight days from the NFL Draft, who doesn’t like a good draft rumor from a quality source?

Former Bucs beat writer Charlie Campbell covers the NFL Draft year-round for He’s at all kinds of draft-related events talking to all kinds of people.

Today, among many other draft nuggets, Campbell says Tampa Bay prefers a safety among this year’s crop.

They aren’t as strong at safety. From what I’m hearing, the Bucs like Florida safety Keanu Neal more than Ohio State safety Vonn Bell. Bell is limited as a free safety. Most pigeon hole Neal as a strong safety because he played that as a junior. However, during his sophomore year, Marcus Maye landed in Will Muschamp’s doghouse for some coverage busts and Neal moved to free safety for most of that year. He did a good job in coverage in that role. Thus, multiple teams have told me they view Neal as having more versatility. He also brings more size to the position than Bell. I think early on Day 2, Neal is a strong candidate to go to the Buccaneers if he makes it to their pick, but Neal could easily go late in the first round.

Joe has written about Neal previously. Last month, Joe brought you a Jason Licht interview with NBC Sports Network, in which Licht specifically lumped the re-signing of Chris Conte into his category of “bridge” free agents, players who can help young players at their position develop.

That got Joe thinking it might be a draft clue because the Bucs really don’t have other young safeties. Starter Bradley McDougald, a holdover from the Dominik-Schiano regime, enters his fourth season. Keith Tandy was a Bucs fifth-round pick in 2012. Major Wright has been around the NFL longer than Conte.

Perhaps Neal is the apple of Licht’s eye?

15 Responses to “More Bucs Rumblings For Keanu Neal”

  1. Rick Says:

    Hope Keanu Neal is a better safety than Keanu Reeves is an actor. DOH!!

  2. Newbucsfan2 Says:

    J Ramsey!

  3. scott fitzgerald Says:

    Considering we have brought Bell in for a visit and workout vs. Neal who we have not at all I doubt it. Neal is a Major Wright clone

  4. scott fitzgerald Says:

    We need a coverage Safety who can cover the field on single high safety looks. I dont beleive we have a guy who can do that now

  5. Mojiska Says:

    Man, I have completely fallen in love with Karl Joseph. Check him out, I think he would be a 15-20 pick If not for his injury. His range is solid and he plays mean and physical. Seems to disrupt a lot and hits much harder than his size. Lots of turnovers, always in the right place at the right time. To me he is the best safety hands down ,(given Ramsey is a cb). Neal and bell are good options tho if this guy is gone in the 2nd

  6. DB55 Says:

    Darian Thompson Boise State but he’ll prob be gone by the second.

  7. d-roca Says:

    Neal will make people pay the price for coming into his area. Id like that pick in the second. Wish i didnt like about 5 picks in the second. Hope they can trade down from 9 n snag another 2nd

  8. Mojiska Says:

    D-roca: I feel you on that. I think the 2ND is where a lot of the value is in this draft. A lot of quality starters that fit what Tampa needs. Not too sold on what we can get @9, wish we can trade back to 15-20 and add a 2nd, but we would need Jack or tunsil. To fall to 9 for someone to want to trade up.

  9. briandorry55 Says:


    Karl Joseph is better.

  10. 813bucboi Says:

    @scott…if you think he’s a clone of major wright then you haven’t seen him in live action…the kid is 10x better than wright in coverage and can deliver a big hit…he is very versatile with his ability to play down in the box or play center field…he would be an instant upgrade over what we have now…with that being said, I like him as a strong safety…GO BUCS!!!!

  11. scott fitzgerald Says:

    I dont think hes that good honestly besides big hits. A lot like Kenny Vaccaro, who cant cover for anything as well. We have enough guys like that and enough SS, we need a real FS IMO

  12. WheresYourBuccaneers? Says:

    We geared up for “big hits” players before and then they changed the rules on us resulting in penaltys fines suspensions and tenative ineffective play from those same big hitters.

  13. Dave Says:

    I’d be happy with him in Rd 2 as long as they grab a DE in Rd 1.

  14. DemBoyzFromDaBay727 Says:

    Im very happy to hear this new because I’m a big gators fan and Neal fan as well. I’ve been able to watch him through his carrer @ UF and I think he is the second best safety behind Joseph and would be a great addition to our secondary.

    And the only thing Major Wright and Keanu Neal have in common is they both played safety at Florida. MAJOR IS NOT A GOOD TACKLER as Neal is a terrific tackler with good coverage skills with room to improve but would be “major” upgrade over what we have now.
    Rankins in the first and Neal in the second. Srry folks but Joseph will be gone so u can forget about him. Neal could be gone too but we have a better chance at getting him than Joseph.

  15. Warfield42 Says:

    The Bucs have plenty of draft options at FS and SS available in the 3rd and 4th Rds. Players that have competed and excelled at major college programs and have a great chance to be quality NFL starters. Tyvis Powell 6’3-210-4.46 Ohio State…K.J. Dillon 6’0-210-4.47 West Virginia…T.J. Green 6’2-210-4.34 Clemson…Sean Davis 6’1-205-4.44 Maryland. Some of these guys were team captains, started in National Championship games, and have experience playing CB, as well.