The New York Giants are looking to build on the success of their 2022 season. After adding a bunch of talent this offseason, Big Blue still needs to rely on a few young players to break out in 2023. Three second-year players stand out as potential breakout candidates for the upcoming season.
RT Evan Neal
After a disappointing rookie season, Evan Neal is set for a breakout 2023 season. The seventh overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft started 13 games for the Giants last season, surrendering seven sacks and 39 pressures.
Neal was, however, playing through an injury throughout the second half of the season. He had his rookie growing pains, but Neal’s potential is still limitless in his 6-foot-7, 360-pound frame. Neal has spent the entire offseason training with former All-Pro OL Willie Anderson.
“(I) know he has it,” Anderson wrote on Instagram. “We’re playing around with his stance. He’ll eventually get into a stance he feels comfortable with. Long, big guys like him and (Andrew Whitworth) are not human and have a significant advantage because of their feet. He’s going to get (it).”
S Dane Belton
Second-year defensive back Dane Belton could be seeking a starting role in the defense in 2023. Following the departure of Julian Love in free agency, the Giants have an opening at the second safety position opposite Xavier McKinney. Belton could fill the starting role and propel himself to a breakout season.
Despite being on the field for just 39% of the Giants’ defensive snaps in 2022, Belton was able to get his hands on the football a few times and make some big plays in coverage and run defense. He totaled 31 combined tackles, one tackle for loss, two interceptions, two fumble recoveries, and three passes defended as a rookie.
Belton missed only three tackles as a rookie and didn’t allow a single touchdown in coverage. The 22-year-old flashed loads of potential in his rookie season and could break out in 2023.
LB Darrian Beavers
Darrian Beavers lost the entirety of his rookie season to an ACL injury suffered in the preseason. Prior to his injury, Beavers was turning heads at Giants training camp. The rookie was given the green dot during the preseason and strung together some impressive plays in the preseason opener versus the Patriots.
This offseason, New York brought in LB Bobby Okereke as their primary starter. But in Wink Martindale’s 3-4 defensive scheme, a second linebacker will start inside along Okereke. Beavers could be gunning for the job, posting recently on Twitter about the chip he has on his shoulder this offseason.
At 6-foot-4, 237-pounds, Beavers has the size to be an enforcer in the run game for Big Blue. Another impressive summer could land Beavers a role in the starting lineup.