I'm sure everyone was expecting the Green Bay Packers to draft a defensive lineman in the 2nd round. Right? Well I wasn't and everything I know about Purdue DE Mike Neal I've learned in the past 15 minutes.
It wasn't something I had written about, but defensive line was somewhat of a need. It might really become a need if DE Johnny Jolly's legal troubles turn out to be serious (last word, the trial's set for May 21). There is little depth behind the starters and DE B.J. Raji (and DE Justin Harrell doesn't count), but defensive coordinator Dom Capers went with two defensive lineman so often last season that depth isn't as big a need as in past seasons. I think there is more going on here then I had expected and we'll have to see what happens on May 21 and with the defensive scheme next season.
Besides all that, Neal sounds like a heck of player. He played tackle in a 4-3 defense at Purdue, but at 294 lbs. he makes an ideal 3-4 defensive end. More on Neal from the fans at Purdue that knew him best at Hammer and Rails:
#92 Mike Neal - DT - Possibly the strongest guy on the team, Neal has drawn the attention of every team we have faced. Part of the reason Ryan Kerrigan is performing like a beast is because Mike Neal is drawing so much attention at defensive tackle. He is a damn good defensive tackle that will soon be drafted. He makes everyone around him better because he is so good and draws so much attention.