As the draft gets closer and closer, the efforts of those who hope to fuel a free fall of a given player — because they love him enough to want to be able to select him — often reach overdrive when it comes to spreading misinformation. There’s a current piece of misinformation making the rounds about Alabama tackle Evan Neal.
There’s completely unverified and inaccurate chatter that he has an unspecified medical issue, one that supposedly has prompted one teams to take him off the board. We mention it only because Neal’s camp has heard it, and is trying to set the record straight.
We’re told that Neal was not asked to return to Indianapolis for the Scouting Combine’s all-important medical re-check. That’s usually the clearest sign of a guy who has some sort of medical problem that requires another look before it’s time to make the picks.
Also, his personal coach, Duke Manyweather, has challenged the reporting of a medical issue with facts.
“FAKE NEWS!” Manyweather said on Twitter. “Neal WAS NOT a medical re-check and was medically cleared at Combine. Dude hasn’t missed a workout since the national championship!”
Manyweather also has posted multiple clips of Neal successfully handling Georgia defensive end Travon Walker — the presumptive No. 1 overall pick — in the national title game.
So where does stuff like this come from? It very often does indeed originate with people who have a Machiavellian desire to gainfully employ the player, but whose teams draft too low to get him. So the options are trade up to get him or, even better, try to get him to fall.
At one point this week, there were indications that Jaguars were considering taking Neal at No. 1. They could still shake up the draft and do it. (Indeed, it’s possible that the false noise about Neal is being circulated to get the Jaguars to not go there.)
In our only mock draft of the year, we have Neal going to the Texans at No. 3.