Cowboys will play Keanu Neal at linebacker

Keanu Neal spent his first five NFL seasons in Atlanta playing safety. The Cowboys signed him in free agency to play weakside linebacker.

“I feel I can play safety, linebacker,” Neal said, via Jon Machota of TheAthletic.com. “Wherever they put me, I’m going to go out there and play at my best. Growing up, I played linebacker in middle school and high school. Then, we changed the defense, and I switched to safety. So I went to college as a safety, but in my heart, I have been a linebacker for a while. I still have an understanding of what everything entails with playing linebacker.”

Neal, a first-round draft choice in 2016, played at 217 pounds last season. He plans to play this season at 222.

The Cowboys have upgraded at linebacker, signing Neal and drafting Micah Parsons 12th overall and Jabril Cox No. 115 overall. Sean Lee retired this offseason.

The additions have put pressure on Leighton Vander Esch, who is entering the final year of his rookie deal, and Jaylon Smith.

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