Mike Neal (6-foot-4, 302 pounds) started half of his 46 games played in his four seasons with the Boilermakers. He racked up 99 tackles, 26 TFLs and 13 sacks, establishing himself as one of college football's top defensive linemen.
He has continued to push his draft stock upward this offseason with strong showings at the East-West Shrine Game and the Senior Bowl.
"I came straight [to the Senior Bowl] from the East-West Shrine Game," he said. "It's a pretty cool environment."
Neal, a projected fourth-rounder, impressed scouts at both venues with his strength and quick first step, which allowed him to get underneath the pads of opposing linemen.
His next challenge comes this week at the NFL Combine.
"I have to keep on improving," he said. "I need to get better. It's just like football season, you want to keep building and getting better."
When Neal meets with Chargers scouts in Indianapolis, he'll talk about his ability to play defensive end in San Diego's 3-4 scheme. That remains a question, as Neal played in a 4-3 defense while at Purdue.
He told SDBoltReport.com that most teams have talked to him about playing tackle in a 4-3 alignment.
"A 4-3, three-technique scheme is probably the biggest one," he said. "But I have no preference and I really don't care."
However, Neal was quick to note that he would welcome the opportunity to play in a 3-4 defense. His combination of size, power and leverage could make him an ideal prospect for a 3-4 end position.
"Wherever I get drafted to I'll be happy," he said. "I'll be able to make the adjustment."
Michael Lombardo is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and a long-time contributor to the Scout.com network. His analysis has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports and MySpace Sports. He has followed the Chargers for more than 15 years and covered the team since 2003. You can see more of his updates by following him on twitter.
Will Mike Neal Become a Draft-Day Steal?
SD Super Chargers Top Stories
Daily Dr. Roto: Thursday Night PreviewDr. Roto previews Thursday Night Football's matchup between the San Diego Chargers and Denver Broncos from a Fantasy Football perspective!
3 Keys To Victory: Broncos vs. ChargersThe Broncos are coming off their first loss. On their first divisional road trip of 2016, what must the Broncos do to emerge victorious? Chad Jensen turns to the film room.
Mile High Huddle10/13/2016
MHH Predicts: Broncos vs. ChargersWill the Broncos rebound on a short week or will the losses start to snowball?
Mile High Huddle10/12/2016
Week 6: IDP InsiderFantasy Football Expert Mark Morales-Smith provides a must-start IDP list and a few recommendations per position if you need to hit the waiver wire!