2022 NFL Draft: Alabama’s Evan Neal declares, projected No. 1 choose anchored Crimson Tide’s offensive line

In a transfer that has lengthy been anticipated, Alabama left deal with Evan Neal introduced that he’ll enter the 2022 NFL Draft. Neal, a junior, began each sport at left deal with for the Crimson Tide in 2021, defending the blind facet of Heisman winner Bryce Younger.

“I thank my household, my mother and pa, and each single coach and fan who has supported me all through my collegiate profession,” said Neal in his announcement. “Although this season did not finish with the end result my brothers and I had been hoping for, this 12 months was unimaginable, and I’ll perpetually bear in mind all that it took to get us there. Enjoying soccer on the highest stage was at all times my objective, and to have the ability to try this at The College of Alabama has been a dream come true. I am deeply grateful to all of the followers that confirmed up each Saturday to cheer us on, to my conches who inspired me day by day to push myself, and to my family members who’ve had my again by way of each excessive and low — you all have helped me turn out to be a greater participant and a greater individual.”

Neal, a consensus First-Workforce All-America choice this season, is the highest-rated offensive deal with within the CBSSports’ 2022 NFL Draft prospect rankings and the No. 6 participant general. CBS Sports activities NFL Draft specialists Chris Trapasso and Josh Edwards have Neal going No. 1 general to the Jacksonville Jaguars of their newest mock drafts, whereas Ryan Wilson has Neal going to the New York Jets with the fourth choose.

Here is what Neal’s announcement means for his draft standing in addition to Alabama’s future within the trenches. 

The place Neal initiatives within the NFL

As talked about above, two of CBS Sports activities’ NFL Draft specialists have Neal going No. 1 general of their newest mocks, whereas one other has Neal going fourth — behind one other deal with in NC State’s Ikem Ekwonu. Odds are these sorts of disagreements will proceed as a result of there’s some uncertainty about whether or not Neal profiles higher as a left deal with or a proper deal with. Neal was a dominant proper deal with for Alabama throughout the 2020 season and moved to the left facet for 2021. He succeeded at each spots, however some scouts consider he carried out higher at proper deal with though he has the whole lot you need in a left deal with.

And for as nice a prospect as Neal is, he did battle at occasions this season — as did the Alabama offensive line as a complete. Nonetheless, he had wonderful performances within the SEC Championship towards Georgia and Cincinnati within the Cotton Bowl semifinal. So the place he finally ends up going within the draft will rely so much on how groups view him and their wants. Nonetheless, there aren’t many causes to consider Neal will not be a profitable NFL participant, whether or not on the correct or left facet of the road. 

Our Chris Trapasso would not have many questions on Neal, writing that he is “one of the best offensive deal with with the very best upside on this class given his dimension and athleticism,” which is why he has him projected No. 1 general to Jacksonville.

Alabama replaces so much up entrance

The Crimson Tide will start the 2022 season as preseason favorites to win the nationwide title for apparent causes. Younger, the Heisman Trophy winner at quarterback, returns together with Will Anderson on the defensive facet of the ball. Jahmyr Gibbs is a former five-star working again transferring in from Georgia Tech, and the Tide can have loads of talent place stars on offense even with star wideout Jameson Williams declaring for the NFL as nicely. 

However Neal isn’t the one offensive lineman on the best way out. Proper deal with Chris Owens and hybrid offensive lineman/tight finish Kendall Randolph are each gone, and it is potential Emil Ekiyor may make the leap to the NFL as nicely. Javion Cohen and Seth McLaughlin will return, bringing some stability to the road’s inside, however Alabama will want two new tackles subsequent season.

It is going to be probably the most outstanding place battles to observe throughout the spring and summer time, however there are many choices. The highest two gamers in Alabama’s 2021 recruiting class had been five-star tackles J.C. Latham and Tommy Brockermeyer, and each might be higher outfitted to compete for a beginning job after spending a season in this system. Additionally, keep watch over gamers like Damieon George, Amari Kight and even incoming freshman Tyler Booker. Coach Nick Saban may additionally select to hit the switch portal for choices. 

Lengthy story quick, Alabama has recruited nicely sufficient that it ought to have the ability to overcome losses like this. In spite of everything, it has loads of expertise doing so.

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