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Lions free agency rumors: Detroit has shown ‘preliminary interest’ in safety Keanu Neal

After missing out on John Johnson III, the Lions are turning their attention to another option at safety.

Detroit Lions v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

After missing out on former Rams safety John Johnson III, it appears the Detroit Lions are still seeking another talent at that position. According to NFL insider Josina Anderson, the Lions are one of six teams who have expressed “preliminary interest” in Falcons safety Keanu Neal. The other teams in the mix are the Dallas Cowboys, New York Jets, Minnesota Vikings, Indianapolis Colts and Carolina Panthers.

Neal, a 2016 first-round pick, is just a few years removed from a Pro Bowl season, but he’s been struggling with injuries since. He played just one game in 2018 and three in 2019. That being said, 2020 was a bounceback year for Neal, as he played in 15 games and finished with a respectable 68.2 PFF grade (23rd among 64 qualifying safeties).

Neal is a versatile piece that spent significant time at both safety positions last year, as well as some time at nickel cornerback. Given that the Lions are likely moving towards a split safety system that requires both safeties to play multiple roles, he could be a fit in Detroit. Both head coach Dan Campbell and defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn are likely very familiar with Neal, seeing as he’s played within the New Orleans Saints division, the NFC South, his entire career.