Alabama Football: Evan Neal is dropping in the NFL Draft


Alabama football’s Evan Neal may not be OT1

Earlier in the offseason, Evan Neal was easily seen as one of the best players in this class. In fact, the former Alabama football stud was the favorite to be the first player drafted in the 2022 NFL Draft. However, that has since changed.

At this point, Aidan Hutchinson seems to be a lock to go first overall in the draft. The Michigan pass rusher brings value to Jacksonville’s defense, and they need help in the front seven. Even if the Jaguars take a left tackle, Ikem Ekwonu is picking up steam as OT1.

For Alabama football fans, this is a real mind goblin. After all, no games have been played since the Senior Bowl, and Hutchinson was not at that game. So, why is Neal’s stock dropping?

Well, it is mostly because of things outside of his control. For example, the Jaguars decided to tag Cam Robinson. This investment in their offensive line makes it unlikely that they draft a left tackle. It could still happen, but it would be doubling down at a pricey position.

Pairing this with the rumors is why Hutchinson is seen as the first player off the board. After that, few teams need a left tackle.  The Lions drafted the first tackle in last year’s draft, and the Texans restructured Laremy Tunsil’s contract to retain him. The Giants or Jets could look to bolster the offensive line, but both teams have many needs and could use later picks in the top 10 to address the line.

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Ekwonu’s rise is warranted, but Neal still deserves to be the first tackle taken. He will prove his athleticism at Alabama’s pro day. The hype died down because he did not work out at the NFL Combine, but he should work up the rankings once again.