Any opinions expressed in this article do not reflect those of the team.
In just a few days, college football's top prospects will be at Lucas Oil Stadium for the 2022 Scouting Combine.
The event, which was canceled last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, will be one of the best opportunities for players to get noticed by scouts and improve their stock, and with more than 300 athletes getting ready to converge on Indianapolis, it's time to get more acquainted with them.
Commanders.com has been taking a dive into each position to see what they have to offer. Here are the positions we've looked at so far:
Next up are the offensive linemen.
The top prospect (according to ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr.): Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
It's been nine years since a position outside of quarterback or defensive end has been taken No. 1 overall. Most analysts predict that trend to continue, but it wouldn't be a shock to Kiper if Neal was taken by the Jacksonville Jaguars to kick off the draft.
"He is the complete package, excelling as a run-blocker and also in moving his feet as a pass protector," Kiper wrote.
It's hard to argue with Kiper's assessment. Neal started at a different position each season of his career…and was selected as an All-American in two of them. The Crimson Tide had one of the best offenses in the country over that span, and he allowed just 24 pressures in the past two seasons.
"The mammoth 6-foot-7, 350-pounder is one of the most imposing specimens ever to grace this Earth, and he moves like a man 50 pounds lighter," wrote Pro Football Focus’ Michael Renner.
Neal will not participate in the physical portion of the Combine this week but will be available for the interview portion to speak with teams.
Looking to improve their stock: Dohnovan West, C, Arizona State
Iowa's Tyler Linderbaum is currently the only center on Kiper's list of Top 25 prospects, which isn't surprising considering he's only allowed three sacks in as many seasons. Arizona State's Dohnovan West isn't far behind him, though, and there's a lot about his skillset that could attract scouts.
Kiper has West as the second-best center in the draft; others are not as high on him. NFL.com's Lance Zierlein points out that while he does take good run-blocking angles, he's still undersized and struggles in other areas. West is still a highly talented player. He was a second team All-Pac-12 selection, and he's a three-year starter with good technique. If he can show that off this week, perhaps that will improve his standing.
And in terms of pass protections, he had a stellar season to wrap up his college career with PFF ranking him as No. 80 on its Top 100 prospects of 2022.
Most intriguing: Zion Johnson, G, Boston College
Boston College guard Zion Johnson has not seen the rise in popularity like Texas A&M's Kenyon Green, who has been predicted by some analysts to go in the top half of the draft, but he's still viewed as one of the best guards available and a first-round pick, and rightly so.
A Bowie, Maryland, native, Johnson has experience at tackle but was at his best playing in the interior. He was Boston College's top-graded offensive lineman, according to his bio page, and PFF gave him an 84.4 overall grade with just six pressures allowed.
There are analysts who believe he's a Day 1 starter, depending on where he lands, and a strong week could result in some more interest.
Full list of prospects
- Blaise Andries, Minnesota
- Ben Brown, Mississippi
- Logan Bruss, Wisconsin
- Spencer Burford, UTSA
- Ja'Tyre Carter, Southern
- Charles Cross, Mississippi State
- Myron Cunningham, Arkansas
- Dawson Deaton, Texas Tech
- Austin Deculus, LSU
- Kellen Diesch, Arizona State
- Bill Dunkle, San Diego State
- Ickey Ekwonu, N.C. State
- Obinna Eze, TCU
- Joshua Ezeudu, North Carolina
- Daniel Faalele, Minnesota
- Luke Fortner, Kentucky
- Luke Goedeke, Central Michigan
- Kenyon Green, Texas A&M
- Marquis Hayes, Oklahoma
- Chasen Hines, LSU
- Ed Ingram, LSU
- Zion Johnson, Boston College
- Braxton Jones, Southern Utah
- Cam Jurgens, Nebraska
- Darian Kinnard, Kentucky
- Tyler Linderbaum, Iowa
- Alec Lindstrom, Boston College
- Vederian Lowe, Illinois
- Abraham Lucas, Washington State
- Cade Mays, Tennessee
- Marcus McKethan, North Carolina
- Max Mitchell, Louisiana
- Thayer Munford Jr., Ohio State
- Evan Neal, Alabama
- Dylan Parham, Memphis
- Chris Paul, Tulsa
- Trevor Penning, Northern Iowa
- Nick Petit-Frere, Ohio State
- Bernhard Raimann, Central Michigan
- Sean Rhyan, UCLA
- Tyrese Robinson, Oklahoma
- Dare Rosenthal, Kentucky
- Andrew Rupcich, Culver-Stockton
- Jamaree Salyer, Georgia
- Justin Shaffer, Georgia
- Lecitus Smith, Virginia Tech
- Tyler Smith, Tulsa
- Cole Strange, Tennessee-Chattanooga
- Andrew Stueber, Michigan
- Luke Tenuta, Virginia Tech
- Zach Thomas, San Diego State
- Zach Tom, Wake Forest
- Cordell Volson, North Dakota State
- Matt Waletzko, North Dakota
- Rasheed Walker, Penn State
- Luke Wattenberg, Washington
- Dohnovan West, Arizona State
- Nick Zakelj, Fordham