It’s been a rough season for New York Giants right tackle Evan Neal. In fact, it’s been a rough start to Neal’s career. His rookie season was poor and his second season has somehow been arguably even worse.
Neal’s frequent struggles have prompted fans and reporters to wonder whether or not a potential position change would benefit the 23-year-old. General manager Joe Schoen was asked about the possibility and seemed to indicate it was unlikely.
Neal has also been asked about the idea of switching from tackle to guard, an idea for which he demonstrated minimal interest.
Evan Neal: “I stepped out of the womb as an offensive tackle”
While speaking with reporters on Wednesday, Neal made it clear that he has little to no interest in a potential move to offensive guard. Neal feels as though he was born to play the offensive tackle position.
“In my opinion, as soon as I stepped out of the womb, I stepped out as an offensive tackle,” Neal said per The New York Post.
Despite feeling like he was birthed a tackle, Neal played plenty of guard in college. Neal started every game in his freshman 2019 season at Alabama at left guard. He then made the switch to right tackle in 2020, then to left tackle in 2021, before moving back to right tackle as a rookie with the Giants in 2022.
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The Giants need Neal to be better
When speaking to reporters GM Joe Schoen declared that Neal “needs to be better.” Neal told reporters that comments did not bother him and that he agrees that he needs to be better.
“I didn’t take it any kind of way,” Neal said of his GM’s call to action. “Being a competitor, I acknowledge myself that I need to get better. He’s the general manager. If that’s what he sees, that’s what he sees.”
Perhaps a move back to guard could be beneficial. Neal has struggled at his born-to-play position of tackle, surrendering 30 pressures, 23 hurries, and two sacks in only seven games this season with a Pro Football Focus grade of 39.8 overall.
As a rookie in 2022, Neal finished the season with 52 pressures and 10 sacks allowed. After training hard in the offseason, Neal entered his second season with high expectations but has failed to live up to them thus far.
Neal has been absent from the Giants’ starting lineup since Week 9 as he nurses a knee injury. If Neal doesn’t return to the lineup soon and demonstrate his potential for the future, the Giants could enter the offseason seeking his replacement.