When the New York Giants drafted Evan Neal with the 7th overall pick in the 2022 NFL draft, they injected a massive human being into the right tackle position to hopefully lock it down for the next five years at least.
Neal served as a three-year starter for Alabama, featuring at the left guard position in 2019, right tackle in 2020, and left tackle in 2021. He spent 765 total snaps at right tackle during his collegiate career, allowing twos sacks and six quarterback hurries. At 6’8″ and 345 pounds, Neal will look to hold down Daniel Jones’s vision side, but more-so carving out running lanes as a rookie with his massive frame.
As for every young player, there is a transition phase when entering the NFL, and Neal will be no exception to that adjustment.
Current Rutgers head coach and former Alabama coach Kyle Flood indicated that Neal is prepared for this challenge.
“I do think, obviously, there will be a transition going into the NFL, there’s no question. Now you’re playing against the best players in the world, not just the best players in your conference, so there will certainly be a transition,” Flood said, via the Giants Huddle podcast. “But he’ll make that transition really smooth because he has been preparing himself to be a professional athlete for a long time. I will say this, he is certainly maybe a little more reserved in how he will speak at times, but when he speaks in that locker room and in that position, I promise you that those other players will listen to him. They know it will come from the right place.”
Neal has been noticeably quiet during media sessions and practice, but Flood stated that his voice is well received and heard in big moments when the team needs him most. That is the sign of a leader and one who listens more than dictates.
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The versatility of Evan Neal is enticing:
Evan is capable of playing multiple positions, providing the Giants with tremendous flexibility. It is possible they look to transition him to left tackle in the future once Andrew Thomas’s rookie deal is over — if they allow him to walk in free agency. However, the team hasn’t had a young duo of tackles like this in quite some time, so the coaching staff must be excited about their potential.
“I think he can fit in just about anywhere. He’s a very unique combination of size, flexibility and explosion. I think that’s why he can play both.
With a brand-new offensive line in place, it will take time for the group to develop chemistry, but Neal is looking to make an impact immediately. With incredible strength and size, running back Saquon Barkley might be the biggest beneficiary of the Giants’ latest acquisition during his rookie season.