Jaguars fortify trenches early in All-SEC 3-round NFL mock draft

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
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Jacksonville Jaguars
Alabama Crimson Tide offensive lineman Evan Neal (73) at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

Jaguars mock draft: 1st round, 1st overall pick, – Evan Neal, OT.

Taking the best player available is often a strategy that some teams shy away from and they want to go after a “need” more often than not. By drafting Evan Neal, the Jaguars are filling both prerequisites. Lawrence needs a tackle, and Neal can play on both sides of the line, though he projects to be a left tackle.

Jacksonville could go with Kayvon Thibodeaux in this slot, but why not get assurance that Lawrence will remain upright for a decade? When Lawrence was taken first overall last April, most fans figured their team would be in a similar position in 2022, and that’s exactly what happened. The Jaguars still have too many holes to become relevant but laying the foundation for an offensive line is a start.

Neal is quickly becoming the consensus number one choice across most draft boards, and rightfully so. He’s the perfect blend of raw strength, impressive athleticism for his size, and overall solid technique. At six-foot-seven and 350 pounds, Neal has the ideal length and reach for an NFL lineman.

Neal’s hands are noteworthy for their ability to quickly latch onto linemen and neutralize them and their incoming rush. His movement is tops in this year’s offensive linemen class, with excellent mobility as he opens up running lanes with relative ease.