The Falcons exercised the fifth-year option on safety Keanu Neal’s contract, per a team announcement. This was yet another no-brainer fifth-year option decision.
The 23-year-old (24 in July) has started in all of his games since entering the league as the No. 17 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. In 2017, Neal earned a Pro Bowl nod after racking up 113 tackles, six passes defensed, four tackles for a loss, and one interception. His much anticipated follow-up was wiped out by an ACL tear last year, but he’s set to get back to work in 2019.
A fun fact from the Falcons’ press release: Since the fifth-year option for first-round picks was instituted in 2011, the Falcons have exercised the fifth-year option on each player they’ve selected in the first round. Overall, that’s a good indicator of the Falcons’ success rate inside of the first 32 picks.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.