As we continue to work our way through the 2019 NFL Draft eligible prospects we often come across prospects we know little about and are enamored with their talent. Ball State QB Riley Neal was one of those prospects that we knew little about but after watching him play he’s definitely on our radar as possibly the best group of 5 quarterback right now. Let’s take a look at what traits Neal has and how that may translate to the NFL.
Riley Neal might be the Best Group of 5 Quarterback
Standing at 6’6 225 pounds Neal is an imposing figure being able to see over the offensive line but does have the athletic ability to be used in the run game at times while also sliding around the pocket to avoid pass rushers. When looking at Neal he for sure passes the eye ball test.
— Brian Johannes (@Draft_Brian) May 26, 2018
One thing that really jumps out about Neal is the velocity that he throws the ball. On his short to intermediate throws he can really rifle the ball into the receivers to get the ball quickly to them. Not only does the ball get to the receiver fast but Neal can show above average accuracy on those throws putting the ball where the receiver can still make plays.
The concern for Neal is he doesn’t always throw with great touch and anticipation. On his deep throws Neal can struggle with accuracy trying to drop the ball into defenders. Too often Neal tries to muscle the ball into receivers and throw too many fast balls which leads to some arrant passes or ones that can be deflected at the catch point. Add in his 21 career interceptions and there may be a concern for his decision making also.
Riley Neal does have a history of injuries that could really cause teams to be concern. He injured his knee in 2016, shoulder surgury before the 2017 season and was limited to 3 games during his junior year because of a “unique rare type of leg injury.” Neal likely will be classified as a junior once again because of a medical redshirt, but will be entering his fourth year with the Cardinals. If he wants to be drafted and viewed as a starter quarterback in the league, Neal will have to improve on his touch down the field and continue to develop his anticipation rather than having to wait for defenders to get open before making his throws. Not to mention prove that he need to prove he can stay healthy for an entire season.