For the most part, the names Alex Highsmith and T.J. Watt have often been mentioned, and rightfully so, for their performance in the Steelers Week 1 win against the Browns on Monday. Another player equally important on Monday night is veteran safety Keanu Neal.
In their win on Monday, Neal contributed on the ground, registering six tackles, including three quarterback blitzes. When he was stopping the run, Neal gave Browns pass catchers little to work with, as he allowed only three receptions on eight targets. He would finish the game with a 53.6 passer ratio allowed and a completion percentage allowed of 37.5.
Although it has only been two games, the Steelers defense has benefited from the veteran, whose versatility has defined him since his rookie season. As the team looks to stack more wins, they will certainly need players like Neal to rise to the occasion when it matters.
Neal was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons with the 17th overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. Since that time, he has played on four different teams, including the Steelers, who signed him to a two-year contract back in April.