Our scouting report series continues with the Detroit Lions' 2013 undrafted free agents. Last up is Spencer Nealy.
DE Spencer Nealy (Texas A&M) - UDFA
After the Detroit Lions released Michael Brooks, they decided to replace him with Texas A&M's Spencer Nealy, who is also an undrafted defensive lineman. Nealy was originally listed as a defensive tackle, but it looks like he will actually play defensive end for the Lions.
Ed Nealy, Spencer's father, played in the NBA for 10 seasons.
What the experts are saying
At first glance Spencer Nealy does not look like a viable NFL prospect because he is a tweener that lacks the bulk and strength to hold the POA inside and the speed and all around athleticism to play on the edge. However, he is a high-effort player that makes more plays than he should because of whistle-to-whistle competitiveness. The NFL has become a very specialized game, and if used correctly Nealy can become an effective rotational player that can play LDE on run downs and 3-technique on passing downs for a 43 defense. Before becoming a feasible backup option at the next level he will need to significantly improve his hand usage, as he struggles to keep blockers from locking onto his frame.
2009: 19 tackles, 3.0 TFL, 1.0 sack
2010: 20 tackles, 2.5 TFL, 1 pass defended
2011: 45 tackles, 8.0 TFL, 1.5 sacks, 1 pass defended, 1 forced fumble
2012: 42 tackles, 7.5 TFL, 2.0 sacks, 3 passes defended
Outlook for 2013
What was said about Robert Maci can also be said about Nealy: He will likely have to beat out Ronnell Lewis as the fifth defensive end in order to make the team. Considering he's getting a bit of a late start, it won't be easy, but the door isn't completely closed since not all of the spots at defensive end are locked down. Like Maci and Freddie Bishop, he should have a shot at the practice squad if he doesn't make the 53-man roster.