2022 NFL Draft
Steelers Get Close Look at Possible Top Pick, Alabama OT Evan Neal
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Although he almost surely will be off the board by the time the Pittsburgh Steelers are on the clock at No. 20, projected top-five pick Evan Neal was the focal point of the Alabama Pro Day.
Neal has played in 40 games during his three seasons with the Crimson Tide, moving all over the offensive line before finally finding his permanent home at left tackle during the 2021 season.
“You can pretty much put me anywhere other than center and I’ll be able to come in and make an impact,” Neal said about his possible position at the next level. “I see myself as a left or a right tackle. Wherever a team needs me, I feel like I’m going to be able to play it.”
His play at left tackle has generated speculation he could be the No. 1 overall pick in this draft, and the heavy Jacksonville Jaguars presence in Tuscaloosa lends credence to the idea that he could be the man to protect Trevor Lawrence’s blind side for years to come.
“It’s been cool,” Neal said about his relationship with the Jaguars. “The time I spent with them on the field getting ready for drills; I didn’t have a meeting with them today, but they’re a great organization. My formal interview with them at the combine went really well.”
If the Jaguars draft him, he would be the first Alabama player to go No. 1 overall since Harry Gilmer in 1948.
“It would mean everything,” Neal said on potentially being selected as the top overall pick. “Coming from a school like this, you have a plethora of players who were good enough to be the No. 1 pick. For that to me, that would be awesome for sure.”
The Steelers are certainly in need of a tackle, but it seems that most of the top ones will be off the board before they pick. That hasn’t stopped general manager Kevin Colbert from seeing what the fuss is about first hand. In addition to being in Tuscaloosa to see Neal, he was at fellow top tackle Ickey Ekwonu’s pro day at NC State earlier in the week. Those two and Mississippi State’s Charles Cross are the consensus top tackles in the class.