Alabama Football: Should Evan Neal go No. 1 overall?

(Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)
(Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images) /

Alabama football could achieve another milestone

Alabama football has dominated the draft since Nick Saban was hired, but one thing has eluded the Tide. With all of the success, Saban still hasn’t had a first overall pick since coming to Tuscaloosa.

We’ve been close. Trent Richardson, Marcell Dareus and Quinnen Williams all went third overall in their respective drafts. Tua was seen as a lock to go first overall before his injury and the rise of Joe Burrow. Next season seems like a lock with both Bryce Young and Will Anderson being eligible.

What about this year? There’s one candidate on Alabama football‘s roster that is being talked about early in the first round, and that is Evan Neal. Neal was one of the best left tackles in football last year, and his athleticism will wow any scout.

With the Jacksonville Jaguars picking first, Neal is a candidate. Should he be the first pick in the 2022 NFL Draft?

The competition

Right now, the race is essentially down to three names for the first overall pick. If the Jaguars don’t go with Neal, they will pick a pass rusher. Both Aidan Hutchinson and Kayvon Thibodeaux will be heavily considered as well. Hutchinson brought solid production as a Heisman finalist this year, but Thibodeaux has been viewed as one of the best pass rushers since he started playing college football.

The team needs

The Jaguars could use a pass rusher, but they’ve invested heavily in the position recently. Josh Allen is a budding star, and they only drafted K’Lavon Chaisson two years ago. They need help on the offensive line if they want to develop Trevor Lawrence.

The Jaguars have Walker Little, who is a developmental prospect. They also have Alabama football’s Cam Robinson, but he was tagged last year. That means that he will be a free agent unless the Jaguars tag him again. That would be expensive for an aging left tackle who hasn’t been elite.

What should Jacksonville do?

If I’m the Jaguars, I take Evan Neal without blinking. He’s the closest thing to a guarantee in the draft, and he fills a position of need. He can protect Trevor Lawrence’s blindside for the next decade if everything goes right, and that is vital for Jacksonville’s future success.

Next. Tide linebacker to USC. dark

We’ll see what happens, but this could be the first time Nick Saban has an Alabama football player go first overall.