Steelers land former first-round pick as Terrell Edmunds replacement

The Pittsburgh Steelers watched safety Terrell Edmunds sign with the Philadelphia Eagles, and they replaced him with a 2016 first-round pick.

The Pittsburgh Steelers secondary has been overhauled.

After losing cornerback Cam Sutton to the Detroit Lions, the team brought in former 2011 first-round pick Patrick Peterson to replace him. Recently, the Steelers allowed 2018 first-round pick Terrell Edmunds hit free agency, only to watch him sign with the Philadelphia Eagles. So, the Steelers decided to replace him with, you guessed, a former first-round pick.

According to agent David Canter, the Steelers have signed former Atlanta Falcons first-round pick Keanu Neal to a two-year contract.

Steelers sign former first-round pick Keanu Neal

As for what role Neal will be playing in Pittsburgh, Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette tweeted out that he was being “viewed as depth, not a starter.”

Neal was selected in the first round out of Florida by the Falcons in 2016. He made it to the Pro Bowl in his second year with the team after recording 116 combined tackles (83 solo, 33 assisted), six defended passes, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, and one interception. However, he suffered a torn ACL in the team’s season-opening game in 2018, and tore his Achilles tendon in 2019, limiting him to just four games played in that two-year span.

In 2021, Neal signed on with the Dallas Cowboys, where he made the switch to middle linebacker. That year, he recorded 72 combined tackles (44 solo, 28 assisted), four tackles for loss, and two quarterback hits in 14 games played (five starts). In coverage that year, Neal surrendered 30 receptions for 278 yards on 38 targets, per Pro Football Reference.

Neal signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this past season, where he moved back to safety. Playing in all 17 games (eight starts), Neal put up 63 combined tackles, five quarterback hits, four passes defended, and one interception. In coverage, Neal allowed 21 receptions for 245 yards and three touchdowns on 28 targets, per Pro Football Reference.

After watching Edmunds sign with the Eagles, they bring in Neal to help fill the safety depth chart. Now, it remains to be seen if the Steelers will use a first-round pick on one of the top cornerback prospects in this year’s draft class to further help solidify the defensive backfield.

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