NAME: Evan Neal
HEIGHT: 6′ 7″
WEIGHT: 350 lbs
HOMETOWN: Okeechobee, Fla.
Neal played in a few different spots along the offensive line as a freshman in 2019, but predominantly stuck at LG, where he was named a Freshman All-American by 247 Sports and the FWAA. Then in 2020, he shifted to RT, an obvious move given his size and evidently fluent footwork. He was extremely comfortable, allowing just 1.5 sacks and 4 QB hurries all season while being part of an offensive unit that ranked 2nd nationally in total offensive yards per game and passing yards per game. In 2021, Neal shifted to the other side of the line to further demonstrate his versatility, starting all games thus far at LT. A semi-finalist for the Lombardi award (Best Lineman), he has been rock solid at his 3rd position in as many years and has been an integral part of the nation’s 6th highest scoring offense and protecting Bryce Young’s blindside.
Speed and Lateral Quickness
For a man of his enormous size, he moves very fluently in open space and blocks nicely out in front on designed screen plays and he shifts really well out of his stance to either run or pass block. He moves in all directions really fluently due to his time spent at different positions across the O-line. Only ever caused problems for pace by DBs/slighter LBs in space.
Strong in every part of the body; he is extremely hard to move, especially his lower body strength which means he anchors particularly well, forcing DEs to try and speed rush but he has the upper body strength to cope and has stupidly high strength around his shoulders and chest to consistently bench press defenders away on these rushes.
As briefly touched on, his anchor strength is superb, he sinks his hips really well to lower the centre of gravity which only makes it harder for defenders to drive his massive frame backwards. The plant recovery after initial kick step is absolute teach tape – he chops feet really well after an initials kick step and is really light on his feet, meaning he guards against inside counter moves nicely.
Neal’s hand placement is great 99% of the time, allowing him to forklift defenders away from plays; size and good hand placement combined is a recipe for success. His hand strength ties into the overall strength I touched on a moment ago, he is an absolute mauler and explodes his hands into chest of the defenders, often causing what looks like “easy” pancakes.
On every pass blocking rep, he genuinely looks offended at the fact the D-lineman has tried to get to the QB, shows great kickstep to gain ground and maintains perfect back shape and body control throughout. Saw he got beat once inside on film, but that was the only minor thing I saw, as he is normally very proficient at such blocks. Even against speedy DEs, because of body position and speed out of stance he forces them so far round the QB they have no effect on the play.
Almost every single play that he’s involved in, he creates a hole. When blocking the backside of plays, he kicks out the DE really well to ensure he doesn’t reach the play, but doesn’t just turn hips and seal on his run blocks as some OL do. He drives them downfield and still maintains his hip position – consistently dominant. Reach blocking is also a massive strength, uses trail arm really well to pass off defenders and get himself into better positions. Only slight criticism is he sometimes overreaches for blocks and tries to be too aggressive; leading to some reps where it seems he dives to the floor, just needs to be a little more patient on wider run plays.
I think Neal will transition smoothly into the NFL due to the fact that Alabama has a good mix of zone and gap runs and he executes both without any problem. His assignment understanding is also superb, uses his trail arm well to pass off inside defenders to guards before sliding onto wider rushers. Keeps eyes up the whole play which really helps to identify and react to stunts.
FINAL GRADE: 96/100 – BLUE CHIP PROSPECT
NFL COMPARISON: Trent Williams
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