Why Alabama's Evan Neal isn't participating in NFL Combine drills

Why Alabama's Evan Neal isn't participating in NFL Combine drills

Evan Neal wants to convince the Jaguars that he’s worthy of being the No. 1 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft at the 2022 NFL Combine. However, he will only try to do so off the field.

Neal is not going to work out during the NFL Combine. He is getting measured and participating in interviews and meetings with both teams and reporters, but he will not be performing any of the athletic tests.

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Why is Neal choosing to forego NFL Combine drills?

His decision doesn’t appear to be injury-related.

According to NFL Network’s Stacey Dales, Neal and his agent “agreed to take more time to prepare” for the combine after a “long season.” Thus, they are waiting for Alabama’s Pro Day on March 30 to work out for NFL teams.

Alabama went all the way to the College Football Playoff championship game before losing to Georgia, and that loss came less than two months before the combine. As such, it’s easy to understand why Neal wanted the extra month of time to prepare.

That said, not participating in the drills at the combine is a risk for Neal because of the uncertainty atop the 2022 NFL Draft. The Alabama product is currently favored to be the Jaguars’ No. 1 selection, but the pick is far from set in stone.

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Edge rushers like Aidan Hutchinson and Kayvon Thibodeaux are both in the mix for the top spot. Meanwhile, tackles like Ikem Ekwonu and Charles Cross could leapfrog Neal if the Jaguars are impressed enough with either during the combine. Only one player has to show well to surpass Neal as the favorite for the No. 1 pick.

The good news for Neal is that he was generating a lot of buzz at the combine because of his athletic frame. He tipped the scales at 337 pounds, but he looks a lot leaner and muscular than his listed weight. 

Neal checked the boxes that he could at the combine without working out. Now, fans will eagerly wait and see what he can do at Alabama’s Pro Day.

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