So, Neal has the golden star next to his name. Check.
Now, who might give him a run for his money? You can have more than one player with a gold star. The more the better, actually.
I bet Mike Svetina is right in the mix, too. He's started at linebacker and Star in his first two seasons and has to be as knowledgable about the defense as anybody. The question with him is, has he hit his ceiling? Can he get better? Surely he can still improve, but is Neal's potential greater?
I've got Neal ahead for now because I think I know the answer to those questions. That doesn't mean Svetina can't prove me wrong.
Another name I like to throw out there in this discussion is B.J. Bello. He's the only linebacker currently on the roster with a different skill set than all the others. He's taller and faster, and the coaches wouldn't have bothered moving him from Star if they didn't think he stood a chance of doing something in the box.
Also, let me check on Henry Dickinson. A gruesome leg injury prior to the 2012 season has sent him down the rough and tumble path of rehab and recovery.