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    NFL Draft Projections: Evan Neal’s landing spots include Giants, Texans, and Jets

    Where are offensive tackle Evan Neal's best landing spots in our 2022 NFL Draft projections? Here's where the Alabama OT could end up.

    As one of the top prospects available in 2022, Alabama offensive tackle Evan Neal’s NFL Draft projections lie within the top 10. Given that he’s expected to be a blindside salve for the next decade-plus, Neal should hear his name called early on draft night. Where are the best landing spots for the No. 1 OT on Pro Football Network’s Big Board?

    NFL Draft Projections: Evan Neal’s potential landing spots

    There might be a run on offensive tackles at the top of the draft, as Alabama’s Neal, NC State’s Ikem Ekwonu, and Mississippi State’s Charles Cross could all be selected early in Round 1. Neal projects to come off the board first, and the 6’7 1/2″, 337-pounder will slide in as an immediate starter for his NFL team. Which clubs are his best fits?

    Jacksonville Jaguars

    The Jaguars haven’t been shy about investing in offensive tackles over the past several years. However, the results haven’t been inspiring. Cam Robinson has been signed to a three-year contract extension, but there are concerns at the opposite tackle spot as well. The Jaguars’ 2019 second-round pick Jawaan Taylor has been underwhelming at right tackle, while 2021 second-rounder Walker Little barely played in his rookie season.

    If his time with the Eagles is any indication, new Jacksonville head coach Doug Pederson prefers to build through the trenches. While Aidan Hutchinson is still the betting favorite to go No. 1 overall, Neal could present an interesting alternative. Robinson is entrenched at left tackle it would appear, but Neal could start at left guard or displace Taylor on the right side.

    Houston Texans

    The Texans won’t trade Laremy Tunsil this year after restructuring his contract, but he’s probably not Houston’s long-term answer at left tackle. That may be a tough pill to swallow given the haul they gave up to acquire Tunsil from the Dolphins. Regardless, the Texans need to look forward.

    Houston has a plethora of needs, and they won’t be restricted by position at No. 3. They could target a pass rusher like Hutchinson, Kayvon Thibodeaux, or Travon Walker, or go after a defensive back such as Ahmad Gardner or Kyle Hamilton. But Neal may have the highest floor of any prospect available to the Texans. He’d immediately start at right tackle before transitioning to LT when Tunsil eventually departs from Houston.

    New York Jets

    Jets general manager Joe Douglas’ tenure in New York could hinge on the 2022 NFL Draft. With two picks in the top 10, he needs to hit on blue-chip prospects to keep his job. Douglas has used early-Round 1 selections on offensive line help in each of the past two drafts. Yet, given the club’s displeasure with 2020 first-rounder Mekhi Becton, Gang Green could target OL once again.

    As PFN Insider Tony Pauline has reported, some Jets coaches are already prepared to move on from Becton and install George Fant at left tackle. As such, Neal could be an option in New York, but probably only if Becton is traded before or during draft weekend. Given the presence of Alijah Vera-Tucker and free agent addition Laken Tomlinson, the Jets don’t have any openings at guard.

    New York Giants

    While the Giants were tight on salary cap space heading into the offseason, they still improved their offensive line with free agents Jon Feliciano and Mark Glowinski, each of whom projects to start on the interior. Another recent addition, Matt Gono, is currently slotted in at right tackle. Yet, he has played fewer than 400 career snaps over two years in the NFL.

    New York’s new regime needs to figure out if Daniel Jones is capable of becoming a franchise quarterback. He must have a solid line in front of him. Neal would play right tackle for the Giants given Andrew Thomas’ 2021 development, but the value differences between left and right tackle are becoming minimal.

    Carolina Panthers

    The Panthers are the only team on this list that’s expected to consider a quarterback in the first round. But Pauline has reported that Carolina is also interested in offensive tackles at No. 6. The Panthers made a few smart OL additions in free agency, signing Austin Corbett and Bradley Bozeman to relatively low-cost deals. At right tackle, Taylor Moton remains one of the more underrated offensive linemen in the league.

    But Carolina still has a gaping hole at left tackle, one they haven’t really filled since Jordan Gross retired after the 2013 season. Veteran Cameron Erving and 2021 rookie Brady Christensen split left tackle last season with below-average results. Neal would give the Panthers a stable long-term presence on the left side.

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