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Alabama offensive tackle Evan Neal foregoes senior season, declares for 2022 NFL Draft

The Crimson Tide left tackle in NFL Draft bound and is projected as a Top 5 pick.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: JAN 10 CFP National Championship Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Alabama Crimson Tide left tackle Evan Neal officially declared for the 2022 NFL Draft on Thursday, foregoing his senior season in Tuscaloosa, AL. The tackle is projected as a Top 5 pick in April, with some mock drafts having him going as high as No. 1 overall to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The 6’7”, 350 pound force of nature made 40 starts in his three years Tuscaloosa and entering Monday’s College Football Playoff game against Georgia, had a team-high 33 knockdown blocks during the 2021 season. His skill in protecting Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young earned him status as a consensus first team All-American. His versatility throughout his collegiate career has been notable as he started entire seasons at left guard, right tackle, and left tackle, respectively, during his stint in Tuscaloosa.

His status as a potential No. 1 overall pick comes down to the Jaguars’ preference for either getting quarterback Trevor Lawrence protection on his blind side or targeting an elite edge rusher like Kayvon Thibodeaux or Aidan Hutchinson.