The Jacksonville Jaguars have the first pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. It’s been widely speculated they may take Alabama offensive tackle Evan Neal, so let’s dive into his scouting report to see why.
Evan Neal is from Okeechobee, Florida. He went to high school, and played football there before transferring to IMG Academy, also in Florida. A dominant offensive lineman in high school, he became a five-star recruit. He was one of the highest rated offensive tackles in the country, and a top ten player overall in his recruiting class. When it was time to pick a college to play at, he chose the Alabama Crimson Tide.
In 2019, Neal played left guard and garnered a lot of attention for his game. He received Freshman All-American honors on an offensive line that was loaded with talent. He moved to right tackle in 2020, and was once again a key part of a successful line and team. Left tackle became his home for 2021 and it was his third position in three years. Once again, he was dominant and declared for the 2022 NFL Draft after the season ended.
Evan Neal Scouting Report
- Looks the part, with long arms and a massive body, he has prototypical size for the NFL.
- He has above average movement skills for his size. He can get out in the run game and blocks well in space.
- His hands are strong and when he gets them on a defender, they’re done. He also anchors well when his footwork is good.
- There’s a mean streak to his game. Especially in the run game, he has no hesitation in burying would-be tacklers.
- While he’s likely a left tackle from day one, he does have experience at guard and right tackle.
- He’s massive, but pops out of his stance quickly and moves well enough laterally to handle all types of pass rusher.
- Likely hasn’t reached his peak yet. His ceiling is sky-high.
- Speed rushers can give him trouble and get his footwork out of sorts.
- His technique can use some refining. Hand placement can be inconsistent and his balance can be disturbed by pass rushers with good counter moves.
- His weight was an issue at one point, and though it hasn’t been a problem recently, it’s something he’ll need to be conscious of.
Evan Neal is nearly universally the best tackle in this draft class, as his scouting report demonstrates. His combination of size/length, quickness, and strength is unmatched and his upside is through the roof.
The NFL has a shortage of quality offensive linemen, so quality players are always coveted in the draft. Neal projects as a top pick and positional value will have him near the top of many boards. That includes, possibly, the Jacksonville Jaguars, who hold the first overall pick.
His game is not perfect, but the strengths far outweigh the weaknesses. He’s not as “can’t miss” a prospect as Penei Sewell was last year. However, Evan Neal has the tools to be a great left tackle at the NFL level.
Grade: Top 10
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