We're back for another round table discussion, this week we talked about rookie nose tackle Chris Neild.
Ronnie: Neild wasn't really given any kind of support when drafted. He was mostly expected to be a practice-squad body. Eventually he beat out Anthony Bryant during pre-season to take the No. 2 slot at NT. I was really impressed with his first game, the two series he started against New York resulted in a sack (He also had an assist, giving him 1.5 on the day, along with 3 tackles). He was pretty productive for the short time he played throughout the year, and I hope he develops even further. I like what Cofield is doing at the nose, but I wouldn't mind seeing quite a bit more of Neild in the middle. Overall bang for the buck is pretty big. Let's be honest, he was the fourth 7th round draft pick and not being a NCAA guy, I didn't even know who he was. So my grades are going to reflect what we got for our money and pick.2012 Stat Prediction: 5 Sacks, 1 Forced Fumble, 10 tackles. Basically I am hoping that he doesn't have the starting job, which I don't think he will, but plays good as a solid backup.
Steveo: For a player who was the 2nd to last player drafted last April, and didn't have a full off-season, Neild had an impressive season. He's a guy who wasn't given any real chance to make the team, but ended up being just one of 6 defensive lineman on roster when the Redskins faced the Giants week 1. In that game Neild showed exactly why he made the squad. In just 8 defensive snaps, Neild got to the QB twice (once was a half sack, but he was there) and had a tackle. While Neild never impacted another game the way he did week 1, he gave Washington some solid snaps throughout the season. He did get exposed more when asked to defend the run on a more consistent basis. Neild needs to get stronger this off-season to be a primary backup for the Redskins, but he has shown some nice promise. Neild probably won't be more than a backup for the Skins, but given the fact that defensive linemen need to take plays off, he can play a vital role on this team. I'd still guess they add someone else who can help out at the NT a little bit, but having quality depth like Neild is a key to becoming a contender.2012 Stat Predicition: 3 sacks, 14 tackles, 10 tackles for a loss.
Parks: There was a lot of pre-season praise from West Virginia and college football fans regarding Chris Neild and his work ethic. Neild didn't disappoint for the Redskins and was a pleasant surprise to the say the least. He is a piece of the interior line rotation that will hopefully continue throughout the future. Two sacks and a forced fumble is very impressive for a first year, rotational nose tackle; and the best thing about it is that it's all a result of his high motor play. He's not the most talented lineman, but he is hard worker and it paid off. Hopefully Neild's attitude and leadership will rub off on the new crop of rookies this summer.
2012 Stat Prediction: Neild won't see a real boost in his numbers next year with the addition of Jarvis Jenkins and, likely, another prospect. I would expect him to have a similar season though, I'll predict 12 tackles, 1 sack, 1 FR
Ken: In the home opener, Neild had one and a half sacks and a forced fumble (though everyone knows that he earned the full two sacks against the Giants). This from a guy who was a couple of picks away from being undrafted. Needless to say, my grading of Neild is slanted a bit based on the return on our very modest investment. Defensive line is insanely important and it has been a weakness for the Redskins frequently over the last decade. Whether you want to call him depth or a serviceable starter, Nield is the kind of player you need to have on the sidelines because you are almost always going to need the extra body on the defensive line. The fact that he proved he was capable of producing is gravy.
2012 Stat Prediction: 4.5 sacks, 3 forced fumbles... mostly what I predict is that Neild will continue to develop and will solidify an area on the field that is crucial to winning in the NFL.
Kevin: It's hard for me to personally grade Neild since I don't have a wealth of game film on him. Many Skins fans were upset to see Phillip Daniels go, but it appears the Redskins were able to find a much younger version of him to take that spot (Daniels played some significant NT at the end of last year). The former WVU captain has been a popular guy in the Redskins locker room, and he fills the typical Shanahan draft pick profile of being a former college team captain.
If you're an offensive lineman or Nose Tackle and your name is not getting called, that's usually a good thing. How many times did we call Ma'ake Kemoeatu's name last year? About a trillion. I give Neild A's across the board for that reason.
UkRedskin: For me, Neild was the real Mr. Irrelevant with the stuff the last pick of the draft gets to do now. The last pick gets attention and is known by everyone, but nobody cares about the second to last pick. Well, apart from the Redskins. His Mae West game was perhaps the opener against the Giants, even though Haslett came out and said afterwards that Neild played 8 snaps, and went the Pete Tong way one two of them. Both of those plays resulted in Tin Tacks. Talk about a natural! He appears to be a good Heap of Coke with a big Aunt Nellie like most lineman. Oh, and he writes the Captain Hook on Strange and Weird's.
2012 Stat Prediction: Not expecting a massive change in stats from this year because I think Cofield will be a much better Irish Rose tackle after a full off-season of study, preparation and practice. So Neild just needs to continue to be a good Jumping Jack-up and make the most of his limited play-Harry Lime. (was I reaching for those two?)
Tiller: We cried all off-season for a true nose tackle for our 3-4. Cofield was brought in via free agency, but people still wanted more. The first few rounds of the draft came and went with no true nose tackle in the cards. Then came the selection of Neild in the 7th round. The banter of Redskins Nation was not one of rejoice, but rather, "who the heck is this guy".Well, the "who the heck is this guy" turned out to be a pleasant surprise for me. I actually thought Neild was going to go a bit higher in the draft, and I was very glad to see us take him in a round where hidden gems are coveted, yet rarely found. I'm not quite ready to say Neild was a hidden gem, but he was pretty damn close. There is a lot of areas in his game that need to be improved, but his motor is not one of them, and I honestly think this is why he was able to see the field as a rookie. The guy never stops fighting; kind of the polar opposite of a guy we once had here by the name of Worthless, ug....I mean Haynsworth. Neild needs to work on having better hand placement, and a better rip move when rushing the passer. If he can improve in these too areas, along with adding a little mass and strength to his frame, he could achieve that hidden gem status in 2012.
2012 Stat Prediction: 16 games played, 3 starts. 23 tackles, 3 1/2 sacks.
Hogs Haven Grade:
Pass Rush: B
Run Support: C+
Thanks to Ken, Kevin, Parks, Tiller, Steveo and the new guy Ronnie for all your contributions. Also apologies anyone (probably everyone) who doesn't understand the cockney rhyming slang in my section (interesting to see who can guess what each on means in the comments).