Round 1 (via SF): Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
Do the Miami Dolphins need a starting tackle? Well, it depends who you ask, but the fact of the matter is if certain players do not pan out, Miami may need a left and right tackle in 2022.
It feels weird doing a Dolphins mock draft and not having Kyle Pitts in the first round, but I will try my best to explain my thinking on Miami taking Evan Neal in the first round.
Let’s focus on Miami first. Austin Jackson, who was the 18th overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, has not looked the part of a first-round prospect, and truthfully, he has not even looked like a starter in the NFL at times this preseason.
Defensive linemen and linebackers have regularly dominated Jackson, and it is almost hard to watch him try to block someone and completely fail at it. I know there will be someone who will say, “everyone has bad reps,” but that is just sugar-coating a major issue Miami has; Jackson doesn’t have many good reps.
Miami has also struck out at right tackle so far, trading for Isaiah Wilson and signing DJ Fluker. Those players are no longer on the Dolphins, so they drafted Liam Eichenberg in the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Miami traded up for Eichenberg, and there is a good chance Jesse Davis will start over him at right tackle in Week 1.
That is why Miami fans should get to know the name, Evan Neal. The Alabama offensive tackle is an elite tackle prospect who will likely be a top 10 draft pick if he can stay healthy this season. Miami has San Francisco’s first-round pick, so they will need the 49ers to struggle in 2021.
Who knows what will happen, but Neal is 100% a player Miami should target. It may only be August, but it is already feeling like an “Evan Neal No Matter What” post-it note should be written somewhere in Chris Grier’s office.