Mike Neal

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.

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