Jacksonville Jaguars land Evan Neal in PFF’s latest draft

Alabama Crimson Tide offensive lineman Evan Neal (73). Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Alabama Crimson Tide offensive lineman Evan Neal (73). Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

There are several paths the Jacksonville Jaguars can take with the first overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft and they would probably land a playmaker in most of them. In Pro Football Focus’ most recent mock draft, the Jags opt to fortify their offensive line and choose Alabama offensive tackle Evan Neal while the Detroit Lions take Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson at No. 2.

Trevor Sikkema of PFF sees the Jagurars taking Neal. He believes this will be a fun draft to watch due to the presence of so many “best player available” scenarios and notes that Jacksonville’s choice will come down to Neal, Hutchinson, Ikem Ekwonu, or Kayvon Thibodeaux. Regarding his selection, Sikkema thinks the Jags need to give Trevor Lawrence optimal protection up front.

"There is plenty of variety with this pick, but I believe building the strongest offensive line in front of Trevor Lawrence is the best option. The 6-foot-7, 350-pounder allowed only 22 pressures the past two years between left and right tackle."

Neal is one of the top offensive line prospects in this year’s selection meeting but it wouldn’t be shocking to see the Jaguars go with Ekwonu or even Mississippi State offensive tackle Charles Cross. Then again, if Jacksonville decides to re-sign Cam Robinson, the need for offensive line help early in the draft will become moot and could target either Hutchinson or Thibodeaux.

The Jaguars must decide if they want to improve their O-Line in the draft.

Keep in mind that even if the Jags re-sign Cam Robinson, they can still draft Neal and plug him in somewhere across the offensive line. Offensive tackle Walker Little showed flashes toward the end of the 2021 season and if Robinson stays, he could take over right tackle and Neal could line up at left guard, a position he played at the beginning of his collegiate career.

Another alternative is to let Cam Robinson walk this offseason, have Little line up at left tackle, and plug Neal at right tackle. This would allow the Jaguars to use their abundance of cap space to bolster other position groups such as wide receiver, edge rusher, and/or tight end in free agency.

It’s too early to tell what the Jaguars plan to do with the top pick in the 2022 draft but it seems like they will potentially have a burden-of-choice kind of situation at hand due to the number of choices that will be available. All things considered, this is not a bad position to be in.

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