OT Evan Neal, Alabama*

6’7” – 350 lbs.

Background:

Five-star recruit who started at three different positions along Alabama’s offensive line: played left guard as a freshman while future first-round picks Jedrick Wills and Alex Leatherwood started at tackle, slid to right tackle after Wills was drafted, and then took over for Leatherwood on the blindside this past year before declaring.

Positives:

Three-year starter who’s played three different positions for college football’s premier program, one which called for him to do a lot of blocking on angles. Has all the size in the world, and basically the functional strength that size would suggest. Fires out low enough to compete in the leverage battle. Hand placement is generally good, with consistent leg drive to generate movement in a phone booth. Works hard to sustain through the whistle. Very good ability to seal by attacking the outside shoulder. Can consistently blow up second-level defenders at the point of attack. Capable of winning ugly. Lateral quickness and flexibility are both very impressive for a player his size; shows good knee-bend in his pass sets, and covers a lot of ground with each step of his kickslide when protecting the edge against speed. Very nice recovery when he sets up too far outside. Does a nice job resetting his hands. Virtually impossible to walk back with power. Able to seal off defenders using inside moves.

Negatives:

Works hard but would like to see a little bit more nastiness to his game. Has some balance issues can cause him to fall off of blocks; ends too many snaps on the ground for a player with such a considerable size advantage. Can lunge and play outside of his frame. Could lock on more consistently to sustain through the whistle. Pass sets look a little bit hunched at times. On the tall side for a potential offensive guard.

Summary:

One of the most physically gifted offensive line prospects in recent years, he is surprisingly flexible and nimble for such a gargantuan player. Those athletic gifts could potentially allow him to play in a zone-based scheme at the next level as well. However, for a three-year starter, especially one from a program as well-coached as Alabama, the level of polish he shows on tape can be a little bit disappointing, with frequent balance issues cropping up as he attempts to play beyond his frame. Whether or not he reaches his full potential, which is considerable, will depend on how well he incorporates the suggestions from his pro offensive line coach. Will probably come off the board within the first half of the first round, possibly as high as the top five picks.

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