Alabama OT Evan Neal, projected No. 1 pick, declares for 2022 NFL Draft

Evan Neal, Alabama Crimson Tide. (Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports)
Evan Neal, Alabama Crimson Tide. (Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports) /

Alabama star offensive tackle Evan Neal has decided to turn pro and enter the 2022 NFL Draft.

After losing the College Football Playoff National Championship Game in heart-breaking fashion, Alabama offensive lineman Evan Neal wisely decided to enter the 2022 NFL Draft.

Neal won a national championship at Alabama in 2020, earning First-Team All-American and First-Team All-SEC nods during his junior season in Tuscaloosa. At 6-foot-7 and 350 pounds, Neal projects as not only the first offensive tackle to be selected in this spring’s draft, but he has the potential to be the first player overall player taken. The Jacksonville Jaguars do need a lot of help.

What are the chances Jacksonville takes Neal with the first overall pick to serve as Trevor Lawrence’s blind-side protector?

Evan Neal declares for 2022 NFL Draft: Could he be the No. 1 overall pick?

Given that there is no quarterback worthy of any team trading up to No. 1 in a deal with Jacksonville, it will be an edge rusher or an offensive tackle coming off the board first. Had his Alabama teammate Will Anderson been draft-eligible, he would be the first overall pick. Instead, the expectation is it will be either Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson or Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux.

What makes Jacksonville a very interesting play for Neal is three-fold. One, their most coveted asset is franchise quarterback Trevor Lawrence. Two, Jacksonville already has a solid pass-rush with the likes of former top-10 pick Josh Allen. And three, Neal’s former offensive coordinator at Alabama in Bill O’Brien is one of the most likely candidates to replace Urban Meyer next season.

The other important factor is Neal is a bona-fide lock to go in the top 10. He is probably not making it out of the top five with the New York Giants and New York Jets picking there. They both have two top-10 picks this year. Other teams picking in the top 10 like the Carolina Panthers, the Atlanta Falcons and whatever the Washington Football Team becomes may have interest, too.

Neal will be making life-changing money as a top-10 pick, possibly No. 1 overall to the Jaguars.

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