You can’t enough blue chip offensive linemen in today’s NFL. It’s why the best players in the trenches are always among the first ones off the board on draft day. Offensive tackles still on top in terms of positional value, but it’s not unusual anymore to see guards and centers get taken in the first round. The 2022 NFL Draft certainly has its fair share of talented offensive linemen too, with a pair of tackles ranked among the best.
This year, the three players most likely to come off the board first among the big men are Evan Neal, Charles Cross and Ikem Ekwonu.
Neal played his college ball at Alabama, where he’s been a three-year starter. He initially started inside, at guard, before moving to right tackle in his sophomore season and to the left side last year. He’s got the technique to be a starter in Week 1 once he’s in the NFL, and skills as both a pass and run blocker.
An NC State product, Ekwonu plays with a mean streak that offensive line coaches will love. He’s a bulldozer as a run blocker. While he has the raw skills teams will value in a pass blocker, that area of his game will need some polish at the next level.
Ikem Ekwonu -200
Cahrles Cross +300
Evan Neal +300
Despite Ekwonu getting better odds, we’re going to go with Neal here. What he brings as a pass blocker right away will be of considerable value to teams. Plus, most NFL teams give players from schools like Alabama a slight edge on their draft boards.
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