The 2022 NFL Draft is only a day away. The New York Giants are in an exciting position with two top-ten draft picks in the first round. The Giants hold picks five and seven overall this year and are excited for the opportunity to land two of the best prospects in this year’s class. New York’s options are plentiful, but most analysts predict that the team will be drafting an offensive tackle with its first pick. The question is, which tackle are the Giants most likely to select? Based on things he is hearing around the league, Jordan Raanan of ESPN lists Alabama offensive tackle Evan Neal as the most likely player to be drafted by the New York Giants with the fifth overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.
There are many strong options in contention for the Giants’ fifth overall pick. Other offensive tackles like Charles Cross and Ikem Ekwonu are also strong possibilities. Defensive prospects like Ahmad Gardner could also be considered. But, as Jordan Raanan points out, “Neal makes a ton of sense for the Giants.” Evan Neal has experience playing both left and right tackle, giving him an edge over the other offensive tackles in this draft class.
Why Evan Neal makes the most sense for the Giants
The New York Giants need to upgrade their offensive line. Left tackle Andrew Thomas developed into a great player last season, but opposite of him, there is a huge hole at right tackle. The combination of Nate Solder and Matt Peart proved to be insufficient during the 2021 season. Thankfully for New York, there are a few offensive tackle prospects that make up the top talents in this year’s draft class.
The Giants have options at five overall if they are selecting an offensive tackle. Evan Neal (Alabama), Ikem Ekwonu (NC State), and Charle Cross (Mississippi State) are all strong contenders. Really, the Giants cannot go wrong. However, Evan Neal stands out as the best fit for Big Blue.
Evan Neal is the only one of these offensive tackle prospects that has spent a significant amount of time playing right tackle. Neal started at right tackle for Alabama in 2020, playing a total of 765 career snaps at the position. In comparison, Charles Cross played 4 career snaps at right tackle and Ikem Ekwonu played 1 career snap at right tackle.
Evan Neal is a mammoth of a human being with a well-rounded skill set as an offensive tackle. He is solid as both a run-blocker and a pass-protector. Neal competed against the best of the best at Alabama and should have little struggle while transitioning to the NFL game. The New York Giants would be wise to make Evan Neal the fifth overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.