Why Evan Neal makes little sense for NY Jets at No. 4

Evan Neal does not make much sense for the New York Jets

Early into evaluating the 2022 NFL draft, Alabama offensive tackle Evan Neal is widely considered the top offensive prospect. This naturally and immediately linked his name to the New York Jets, for obvious reasons.

For one, Joe Douglas knows his depth chart needs more offensive line talent. The organization would be hard-pressed to rely upon Mekhi Becton—as he comes back from a lost season via injury—so adding young talent upfront is still one of the top priorities.

And hey, Neal is a real deal. The kid is as talented as anybody in the draft and probably deserves his top 10 billing.

For the Jets, however, the Crimson Tide product makes little sense.

Neal is a tackle, first and foremost. In order to move inside to guard, certain traits are required, as things happen much more quickly on the inside.

Although the Jets would be lucky to have Neal anchoring one side of their line, with Becton and George Fant rostered, coupled with other depth chart needs, it would be a bit surprising to see Douglas snag the kid at No. 4.

Perhaps most convincing is the idea that another offensive lineman, Ikem Ekonwu, projects much more seamlessly at guard in the NFL.

Is Neal worth the hype? Can he play guard at the big-boy level? Is he good enough to consider trading Becton or Fant? Is he the top offensive player in the 2022 NFL draft?

All of this is reviewed on the newest edition of Blewett’s Blitz (over 80 minutes of film).

YouTube Movie Clip & Podcast

Strengths and Weaknesses

Strengths

  • Massive at 6-foot-6 and 360 pounds
  • Displaces penetrators on stunts to assist fellow offensive lineman
  • Stays square to line of scrimmage (mostly) while passing off rushers
  • Strike-timing
  • Power in pass pro punch
  • stunt pickup
  • Doesn’t reach for contact in pass protection
  • Explodes off snap
  • Ability to wrench when beaten inside
  • Shows ability to power step vs inside penetration
  • Patient
  • Plays with hands on guard (mostly)
  • Acceleration
  • Length
  • Grip strength
  • Quick vertical feet for size
  • active eyes

Weaknesses

  • Balance in run game
  • Big steps and crosses feet in run game
  • Bends from waist
  • Misses some blitz pickup
  • Punches with two hands too often
  • Needs to keep feet more active while run blocking
  • Too often “scoops” with hands in run game
  • Doesn’t create much movement (for his size)
  • Lack of aggression
  • Needs to work feet to close ground while engaged in run game
  • Would like to see him defeat arms/teal more vs bull rushes and long arms
  • Climbs to second level with shallow feet
  • Lunges too often
  • Plays too heavy
  • A lot of lean in run game
  • Lateral movement
  • Some over setting in pass pro game
  • Clunky getting into anchor
  • Needs to “climb tree” while engaged
  • Chase blocks in run game
  • Doesn’t sustain run blocks for long
  • Not a fit at guard

For the full Evan Neal film breakdown, check out the member-only video below (over 80 minutes in length):

Member-Only Film Breakdown



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