New Orleans brought aboard another talented free agent with ties from their father, who once was a player for the franchise. A few weeks ago, Tulane's wide receiver Jalen McCleskey signed with the Saints. His father is former Saints defensive back J.J. McCleskey (1993-1996), a great special team performer.
Sunday after Saints rookie minicamp, defensive tackle Lorenzo Neal, Jr. inked a free-agent deal to join the team. He was the only invited undrafted rookie to try out and receive an offer from New Orleans.
Lorenzo Jr.'s father, Lorenzo Neal, Sr. was an All-Pro fullback drafted by the Saints in the fourth round of the 1993 NFL Draft. Ironically, Neal, Sr. played from 1993-1996 just as J.J. McCleskey.
What are the odds?
The Neals and McCleskeys are Saints' father-and-son combos who were also teammates on the same New Orleans teams.
It's an exciting story for both families.
We were interested to learn more about the younger Neal and what was said about him at Perdue, during the draft process, and after signing with New Orleans.
ABOUT NEAL AT PERDUE
#TBT Lorenzo Neal '16 Extends Family Football Legacy with Commitment to Purdue University
This story was originally published in February 2016. A longer than expected recruiting craze was not near enough to rattle the resolve of Lorenzo Neal ‘16. The 300 pound-plus defensive dynamo originally announced a verbal commitment to the University of Utah in August, backed away from that pledge during his robust senior season...
Lorenzo Neal - Football - Purdue University Athletics
Career Defensive Statistics Season GP SOLO AST TOT TFL-YDS SACKS-YDS INT PD FF FR BLK Total 38 49 24 73 13.0-45 4.0-29 0 5 4 1 1
- Started 12 games before missing the bowl game due to injury.
- Honorable mention All-Big Ten.
- Finished with 30 tackles, including 17 solo stops, with 3.0 tackles for loss and a sack on the season.
- Forced a fumble and had three solo tackles against No. 8 Michigan on Sept.
- Posted a sack among three total tackles against Arizona in the Forster Farms Bowl on Dec. 27.
- Appeared in seven games, making four starts.
- Finished the season with 11 total tackles, including 3.0 for loss and a sack.
- Posted a season-high six total tackles, five solo, with 3.0 TFL and a sack at Nebraska on Oct. 22.
- As a sophomore was named second team all-district and second team all- • Named first team all-district, district MVP, defensive MVP as junior, finishing with 34 tackles, five sacks, two interceptions and one PBU.
- As a senior, team captain first team all-state, first team all-district, district MVP, Touchdown Club of Houston Honoree.
- Finished senior season with 33 tackles, four sacks.
- Blue-Grey All American Bowl Selection.
- Given name is Lorenzo Matthew Neal Jr.
- Born Nov. 4, 1997.
- Majoring in building construction management technology.
NEAL RETURNED TO PURDUE FOR 5th YEAR
After missing all of the 2019 season recovering from a torn ACL suffered in the final game of 2018, defensive tackle Lorenzo Neal announced Friday that he will be returning to Purdue as a fifth-year senior. (si.com)
NEAL DURING DRAFT PROCESS
7th Round - Saints News Network Mock Draft
Bob Rose chose Lorenzo Neal, Jr. in his final mock draft as a selection for the New Orleans Saints in the 7th round.
"Son of former New Orleans Saints FB Lorenzo Neal, a 4th round choice in the 1993 draft, Lorenzo Jr. missed the 2019 season because of an ACL injury. He is a powerful presence at 6’3” 315-Lbs. that has tremendous strength inside. Combined with excellent quickness off the snap, Neal is a handful for even double-team blocking despite low statistical production."
"Losing DT Malcom Brown this offseason created an understated need, especially for the run defense. If Neal can strengthen his base to complement his raw abilities, he could be the latest defensive line gem for a New Orleans team that added undrafted defensive tackles Shy Tuttle and Malcolm Roach over the last two seasons."
Purdue DT Lorenzo Neal Jr.: Different Position Than Dad … But Good Fit For Ravens? - PressBoxOnline.com
The son of former Ravens fullback Lorenzo Neal, Purdue DT Lorenzo Neal Jr. is confident there are plenty of roles he can fill at the NFL level. "I think what I most bring to the table is my ability to use my size and power as well as my athleticism and quickness," Neal said.
Lorenzo Neal, IDL, Purdue
- RS Senior, 6'3", 315 lbs
- IDL, Purdue
- Jersey #9
- Senior HT
- DOB 11/04/1997
- WT 315 lbs
Lorenzo Neal, Jr. Still Not Signed
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. Just hours after the NFL Draft ended, former Purdue players Grant Hermanns and Tyler Coyle agreed to free agent deals. But now, more than 24 hours after the final selection on Saturday, Boilermaker defensive tackle Lorenzo Neal Jr. is still waiting for his opportunity.
Will the Saints Add to Their NFL Family Tree in the Draft?
New Orleans has had success adding players with NFL bloodlines during the tenure of coach Sean Payton. Will they extend their family tree from a talented new generation of NFL offspring?
NFL Draft Profile: Lorenzo Neal Jr.
A true run stuffing nose tackle.
Seen as one of the better Nose Tackles in college football that year, Lo Neal lead a defense that was solid as stopping the run. The 300+ pound nose is exactly what NFL teams envision when talking about a run stuffing nose tackle.
At 6-3, 325 pounds he has plenty of NFL Size, he has 72 total tackles, 4 sacks.
AFTER THE DRAFT
Lorenzo Neal, Jr. signed after Saints Rookie Minicamp
The New Orleans Saints signed undrafted free-agent defensive tackle Lorenzo Neal, Jr. after the team's three-day rookie minicamp.
Saints Sign Neal, 28 Years after His Father
Former Purdue defensive tackle Lorenzo Neal Jr. signed Sunday as an undrafted rookie free agent with the New Orleans Saints , the same team that drafted his dad in 1993.
Saints sign Lorenzo Neal Jr. - ProFootballTalk
In 1993 the Saints drafted fullback Lorenzo Neal, who became a four-time Pro Bowler. Now they’ve signed his son as an undrafted rookie. Lorenzo Neal Jr., a defensive lineman from Purdue, has signed with the Saints as an undrafted free agent. During the 2018 college football season, Neal emerged as one of the best defensive players...
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