2022 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Evan Neal

2022 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Evan Neal

by January 18, 2022 8 comments

In the conversation to the top overall pick in April’s draft, many have regarded Evan Neal as the top offensive lineman in this year’s class. The 6’7 tackle earned a unanimous five-star rating out of IMG Academy to earn the top spot in the nation. He ultimately decided to commit to the University of Alabama. Beginning his freshman season with the Crimson Tide at left guard, the 21-year-old made 13 starts. This would lead him to earn freshman All-American honors. He would then kick out to right tackle after the departure of Jedrick Wills during his sophomore season. Rock-solid during his final year in Tuscaloosa, Neal handled the blindside protection duties for Bryce Young. He was selected to the All-SEC team while also getting a First-Team All-American nod. The Florida native surrendered just two sacks on over 1,000 snaps. 

Make sure to check out all of our other NFL Draft Scouting Reports

Player Bio

Name: Evan Neal

Jersey: No. 73

Position: Left Tackle

School: Alabama

Class: Junior

Height: 6’7” 

Weight: 360 lbs

Games Watched: LSU (2020), Florida (2020) Miami (2021), Arkansas (2021), Georgia (2021)

Major Injury History: None

Player Breakdown

Pass Blocking (13/15)

Despite his size, Neal can get out of his stance with ease. He can use his quick and heavy hands when setting against defenders to redirect the path they take. Furthermore, Neal can also use his speed and athleticism to get depth in his drop and make them run the arc around him. Rarely beat when he gets his hands on an opponent, he has the strength to latch on to a defender and maintain his block for a long period. Needing a bit of refinement at the pro level, Neal can sometimes face balance and change of direction problems. This allows smaller rushers to beat him on inside moves.

Run Blocking (14.5/15)

A mauler in the run game, Neal uses pure power and physicality to knock opposing players off the ball and out of gaps. Neal uses a constant leg drive and mean streak. He has an elite first step that allows him to gain leverage on an opponent quickly. Neal is arguably the best run blocker in the nation and is effective in short-yardage and goal-line situations. Neal will often look to bully and pancake his assignment.

Length (15/15)

Jumping off the charts on tape, Neal has exceptionally long arms that he uses to his advantage in both pass protection and while run blocking. Using his wide frame to help move edge rushers past the quarterback, he can aggressively get his hands on them when attacking. This also helps prevent him from being pushed back in the pocket during power rush moves.

Footwork (8/10)

Neal can be beaten by quicker speed rushers around the corner. Along with this, he can be slow to react when beaten off the snap, forcing him to use his balance and reactionary skills to recover. Neal struggles to engage with defenders in the open field due to clunky feet when pulling. This leads him to overextend and lose leverage.

Mechanics (8.5/10)

Displaying strong movement skills for his size on tape, Neal can move laterally to get his hands on opposing rushers. Neal uses a punch to get his hands on his opponents, which leads to balance issues in pass protection. This leads him to be off-balance and out of position.

Athleticism (9.5/10)

Neal is an athletic freak, and his size and power jump out immediately. Neal is quick and explosive when setting on the edge and run blocking in short-yardage situations. He sometimes struggles when pulling in in front on a run play to get to the second level. With a quick correction at the NFL level, his ability to react and diagnose a play leads him to miss blocks and a result of slow footwork.

Versatility (8/10)

A versatile piece during his three years at Alabama, Neal has played up and down the offensive line. Neal is a dominant run blocker at the right tackle spot. He has the pass protection skills and looked more comfortable playing left tackle during his junior season. Able to kick inside and play guard if needed, he has the power to move bigger defensive linemen in tight spaces.

Anchor (8.5/10)

Neal uses a strong base to help him anchor against defenders. He is rarely beat when he gets his hands on an opponent and has the pure power and strength to shield off a defender and blow him off the ball. Because of mobility and balance problems, he sometimes struggles to set and anchor against speedy pass rushers with power.

Control (4.5/5)

Able to control defenders with ease when he gets them into his grasp, Neal has heavy and violent hands. Using a quick first step, he can quickly create power at the line of scrimmage to allow him to shield off an opponent. He can also eliminate second efforts from defenders by using pure power and strength to enable him to sustain his block for an extended time.

Player Summary

Neal is expected to be the first offensive lineman off the board in the 2022 draft. He is firmly in the conversation to be the first overall pick after the Jacksonville Jaguars locked it up during Week 18. Possessing the strength and power to be a starting left tackle in the NFL, Neal has violent hands and a firm grip which allows him to win on the edge. Furthermore, he also has a violent streak and a nastiness to him in short-yardage situations that allow him to knock defenders back and off the ball.

Needing to clean up his footwork at the pro level, he sometimes faces balance and mobility issues against experienced pass rushers. Along with this, he can struggle to ID and pick up opposing blitzes, leading to free rushers at the quarterback. Still raw at the left tackle spot after moving over during his Junior season at Alabama; look for him to become even better with more experience at the position.

Rookie Projections: Starting Left Tackle

Third Year Projections: Pro Bowl Left Tackle

Final Grade (89.5/100): Top Ten Pick

Player Comp: Orlando Brown 

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