Former Vanderbilt quarterback Riley Neal will be one of four quarterbacks on the roster of the Denver Broncos this summer.
Neal spent just one season with the Commodores after transferring from Ball State, where he spent four seasons. In 2019, he threw for 1,585 yards and nine touchdowns. In four seasons at Ball State, he threw 46 touchdown passes but also had 25 interceptions.
The Broncos have their starting quarterback in Drew Lock, so the race will be on to see who the backup is going to be. Right now, the advantage in that competition would have to go to Jeff Driskel, the guy the Broncos signed in free agency.
Will the team choose to keep three quarterbacks on the active roster? If so, that competition will be between Neal and second-year quarterback Brett Rypien.
Rypien was signed as an undrafted free agent last season and spent the year on the team’s practice squad.
Neal has many of the physical traits to play quarterback, but does he have the intangibles to make the leap from college, where he was just slightly effective at times, to the next level.
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Chances of making 55-man roster (1-10 scale): 1
Watching Neal play the position, you will immediately thing big things if you like big quarterbacks. He is 6-foot-6 and about 225 pounds. But looking deeper into his game, there are plenty of aspects he will need to develop at the next level.
On short to intermediate throws, Neal puts some real zip on the ball and generally puts the throw right where it needs to be. But he doesn’t look comfortable trying to extend the field and his processing is a bit off. In addition, he makes far too many mental mistakes that lead to turnovers.
He is a guy who will likely look good in the last game of the preseason, for instance, padding stats but dumping the ball off and checking down against a third or fourth-string defense. But if he were to get in against a starting defense, his deficiencies would be glaring.
If the Broncos decide to keep two quarterbacks on the main roster, then Neal is obviously playing for a spot on the practice squad. But even if they chose to keep three, my money would be on Rypien.
This brings an end to our undrafted spotlight series for this season. If you missed any of the previous spotlights on the rest of the undrafted class and their chances to make this year’s team, click on the links below.