We are still a few months away from the start of the 2022 NFL Draft, which means it's mock draft season.
Recently, Zack Patraw of NFL Draft Bible on Sports Illustrated/FanNation put out a new mock draft that has the Carolina Panthers moving up to the No. 2 spot. In that trade, Patraw projects the Panthers will send the No. 6 pick, a 2022 4th round pick, and 2023 2nd round pick in exchange for No. 2 to take Alabama offensive tackle Evan Neal.
"Neal has rare athleticism for his size, possessing quick feet and lower body flexibility to get out of his stance and work to the second level. His length is great and once he lands his hands, he is able to latch on, move his feet and control opponents."
Although many do not like the idea of trading even more draft capital to move up four spots, this is a tremendous opportunity for the Panthers to solidify the left tackle position - a spot that has been a constant revolving door for the past eight seasons. Players such as Neal, Ikem Ekwonu (NC State), and Charles Cross (Mississippi State) are all projected to go high in the draft and there are some who believe all three could be gone by the time the Panthers are on the clock at No. 6. If that happens, Carolina would likely trade back in the first round but would miss out once again on finding a solution at left tackle.
I haven't watched as much film on Neal or any of the top prospects as I would have liked to this point so I will reserve judgement on whether or not he is the guy that could change the Panthers’ fortunes up front but everything I have seen has shown he is certainly more than capable.
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