NFL Draft Odds: Evan Neal New No. 1 Pick Favorite

At the conclusion of the 2021 college football season, a pair of pass rushers were listed as the favorites to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. The early NFL Draft betting odds and the mock drafts had either Aidan Hutchinson or Kayvon Thibodeaux going to the Jacksonville Jaguars, but Evan Neal is now close to being the odds-on favorite to hear his name called first by Roger Goodell on April 28.

2022 NFL Draft No. 1 Pick Betting Odds

  • Evan Neal +120
  • Aidan Hutchinson +200
  • Ikem Ekwonu +700
  • Kayvon Thibodeaux +700

Odds Provided by DraftKings - Subject to Change

The No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft has been either a quarterback, offensive tackle, or defensive end since 1997. Quarterback has been the most prevalent choice, but there is no surefire signal caller in the 2022 NFL Draft, and the Jaguars aren’t in need of a quarterback after taking Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence with the first overall pick last year.

However, Jacksonville does need someone to protect Lawrence. The rookie threw 17 interceptions last season, and he was under plenty of pressure in most games as the Jaguars were one of the least talented teams in the league. Evan Neal is regarded by most analysts as the best left tackle in the draft, and that has led to him being pegged as the No. 1 overall pick by most mock drafts.

Evan Neal celebrates his National Championship win in 2021

Neal has the ideal size that NFL teams want in a franchise left tackle. He is 6’7 and 350 pounds, and the junior was a three-year starter at Alabama. Neal was a consensus First Team All-American with 40 starts over his three years with the Crimson Tide. If Neal were to be the No. 1 overall pick, he would be the first Alabama player to have this distinction since Harry Gilmer went first overall in 1948. There is an outside chance that North Carolina State left tackle Ikem Ekwonu is the No. 1 overall pick. Ekwonu was also a unanimous All-American, but he doesn’t have the size of Neal at 6’4 and 320 pounds.

He should still be a top ten pick, yet he is more likely to see his stock fall than rise over the next two months. You can’t discount Aidan Hutchinson’s chances of being the first player selected in this year’s draft. Hutchinson was the favorite immediately after the season ended, and numerous services still tout him as the top prospect of the 2022 draft class. Jacksonville nearly went to the Super Bowl a few years ago on the strength of a great defense, so the Jaguars could look to recreate that success.

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