Like a lot of people, I openly wondered why the hell the Green Bay Packers drafted a defensive end in the second round of this year’s draft.
The Packers’ defensive line looked to be one of the strengths of the team, at the time. The team seemingly had more pressing needs at other positions, as well, namely outside linebacker. And then there was the player selected — Mike Neal.
Nothing against Neal, but like most people, I had never heard of Neal. Compounding the problem was the fact that CBS gave Neal a fifth-round grade, so not only did he look like someone the Packers didn’t need, but he looked like a huge reach.
Not surprisingly, I expressed my disdain for the pick when I wrote about Neal being selected. In addition to some choice words for general manager Ted Thompson, I titled the post, Packers Select Someone You’ve Never Heard of In Second Round.
Well, apparently, Neal reads his own press clippings, which, by the way, is somewhat narcissistic, Mike.
How do I know this?
On Monday, Neal sent out this tweet.
This is an article that is lamenated in my house. Motivation. Read it!
A link to my post followed.
So, let me say this.
Stay motivated. You’re a member of the Green Bay Packers. You were drafted in the second round. We all want you to turn into a terror on the football field, so if you need motivation to do so, I’m glad we could provide it.
In hindsight, choosing Neal in the second round doesn’t look so bad. After the draft, Johnny Jolly was suspended indefinitely, so Neal went from being a spare part to the fourth man in the defensive line rotation. The Packers were wise to prepare for that possibility.
Unfortunately, Neal didn’t have much impact this season. He went on injured reserve with a shoulder injury on Oct. 25. In all, he played in only two games, recording three tackles, a sack and a forced fumble.
So, we still don’t really know what we’re going to get from Neal.
I will say this, though. The coaches have praised Neal, particularly his strength, and he looks like he could become a solid contributor for the Packers in the long run.
Let’s hope he returns healthy next season and makes sure all Packers fans know the name Mike Neal.
In the meantime, you’re welcome.