Draft Recap | Round 5 Pick 154 – DB Siran Neal


With the 154th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Buffalo Bills selected Siran Neal, defensive back from Jacksonville State.

The 6’0″ 206 lbs former Gamecock is another senior drafted by this Bills brass who has four years of college experience. Neal started as a reserve safety in his first two years (just one start) after being moved to linebacker as a junior in 2016. He was able to produce at his new position, posting 80 tackles, with 11.5 for loss, an interception and four pass break-ups, earning first team All-Ohio Valley Conference recognition. In 2017, he was moved again, this time to cornerback, and again succeeded, posting 39 stops, one interception, and leading his team with 11 pass break-ups in his senior year, again earning first team All-Ohio Valley Conference honors. Neal is an aggressive player who thrives pressing wide receivers at the line of scrimmage and tackles very well. He comes to the Bills as a versatile defensive back who has experience in a variety of roles and surely can contribute on special teams with his skillset and athleticism (4.56 40 yard dash, 40.5 in vertical jump at the combine).

On the down side, Neal lacks good instincts and anticipation in coverage, and being moved around during all his collegiate career certainly didn’t help him to develop at one preferred position. It’s difficult to project him contributing as a rookie, outside of special teams.

It’s not clear yet what the position Bills HC Sean McDermott and GM Brandon Beane envision Neal playing coming to the pro level, but I believe it’s at the safety spot. He’s similar to Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde to some extent, having a CB background and lots of versatility, being able to play as safety or nickel/dime DB. I can see the coaching staff working on this kid to try to develop another diamond in the rough behind the Poyer, Hyde, and new free agent signing Rafael Bush. In time, Neal can become a really nice player for the Bills.