Jaguars meeting with top O-Line prospects at NFL Scouting Combine

Evan Neal #OL35 of the Alabama Crimson Tide in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Evan Neal #OL35 of the Alabama Crimson Tide in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /

The Jacksonville Jaguars hold the first overall pick in the 2022 NFL, which they could use on Alabama’s Evan Neal or North Carolina State’s Ikem Ekwonu, two of this year’s top offensive-line prospects. The Jags sent a contingent to the NFL Scouting Combine to take a look at several players and had the chance to meet with both Neal and Ekwonu.

Neal talked to the Jaguars Thursday morning and described the encounter as “great”, per John Reid of Florida Times-Union. Moreover, the Alabama product believes “his versatility is what puts him at the top” of top of his class. While Neal won’t be working out, he did take part in the weightings and showed how athletic he is at 337 pounds.

Ekwonu also had a chance to meet with the Jaguars’ brass and make his case as the top pick in this year’s draft, “it definitely went well“, per John Reid. One thing is clear: Ekwonu isn’t lacking confidence, “I don’t think you will see anybody as dominant as me in this draft”.

Ekwonu and Neal are two of the prospects the Jaguars could select at No. 1 if they decide to take a left tackle. On the other hand, the Jaguars could also go defense and chose either Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson or Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux. The Jaguars are set to have $56 million in cap space and four picks in the first three rounds of the draft, so there are different paths they can take to revamp their roster. Similarly, their surplus of resources will give them the freedom to select whoever they think can help them the most.

Evan Neal would give the Jaguars flexibility at offensive tackle.

The Jags should definitely consider Ekwonu at No.1 but Neal’s flexibility to line up at different sports across the offensive line could give him the edge. Back in college, he played left tackle, right tackle, and left guard, so Jacksonville could virtually plug him wherever they believe he can help them the most.

The Jaguars could re-sign Cam Robinson, have Walker Little play right tackle, and plug Neal at left tackle. Similarly, the coaching staff could leave Little at left tackle if they let Robinson walk away in free agency and put Neal at right tackle. Even if the front office signs someone like Eric Fisher or Terron Armstead in free agency, they could still draft Neal.

Making sure Trevor Lawrence has option protection and enough time to find his receivers should be one of the Jaguars’ top priorities this offseason. And if they want to take a left tackle in the draft, they must decide who would be a better pick, Evan Neal or Ikem Ekwonu.

Next. Ranking Jaguars' top 5 needs ahead of free agency. dark