New York Giants: Evan Neal’s former coach details why he will be a stud in the NFL

evan neal, giants

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.

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.

New York Giants rookie OT Evan Neal ‘dominant’ at OTAs, says teammate

evan neal, giants

The New York Giants revamped and rebuilt their offensive line this offseason. After years of pitiful play upfront, new general manager Joe Schoen prioritized improving the blocking in front of Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley. In particular, the right side of the line was addressed and upgraded this offseason. Two of the Giants’ most important offseason acquisitions addressed this area: right guard Mark Glowinski and right tackle Evan Neal.

The Giants did not spend much in free agency, but arguably their biggest splash signing was right guard Mark Glowinski. The Giants gave Glowinski a three-year, $20 million deal. New York then doubled down on the offensive line and invested the seventh overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft on right tackle Evan Neal.

All eyes will be on Evan Neal entering this season as one of the Giants’ most exciting offseason acquisitions. After a few short weeks of practice, the rookie is already standing out. Neal’s comrade on the right side of the offensive line, Mark Glowinski, described him as a “dominant” player.

Giants rookie Evan Neal “dominant” at OTAs

Mark Glowinski was asked what his first impression has been of rookie right tackle Evan Neal so far during this summer’s practices:

Just dominant. As long as he gets his hands on guys, that’s the end of the story. So just making sure that we put him in the right place; make sure that he is doing the right things. He has come along drastically every day, learning more and more. – Mark Glowinski on Evan Neal via Giants.com

Evan Neal was a dominant force during his collegiate playing career at Alabama. It should excite Giants fans to hear that their first-round draft pick is continuing his dominant ways in practice. It is also exciting to hear Mark Glowinski describe Neal’s development, explaining how he is learning and improving drastically with every day of practice.

Mark Glowinski has also taken it upon himself to guide and mentor the Giants’ valuable rookie. Glowinski is ensuring that he keeps an efficient line of communication with Neal and helps him learn the playbook:

We just have to make sure that we keep everybody going. Fortunately, we had a few more weeks with the whole group to understand everything so we can just relay the message to him, and every day he is just learning more, so it’s less for me to tell him.

I’m just going to continuously do that even through camp to make sure that we’re all on the same page, offensive line plays, making sure we’re communicating with one another. Be one; whatever it takes to do that. – Mark Glowinski via Giants.com

The new-and-improved New York Giants offensive line could make or break the team’s upcoming 2022 season. Excitement is building as the Giants are already watching their young star make his presence known on the practice field as he develops alongside his teammates.

The Giants might have a dynamic run-blocking duo on the right side of the line

evan neal, giants

The New York Giants rebuilt their offensive line this offseason. After years of misery upfront, new general manager Joe Schoen made it a point of emphasis to acquire offensive line talent. Schoen added a number of backup linemen in free agency while also making a couple of big-moves to add starters. The Giants signed veteran Mark Glowinski in free agency to a three-year deal to be the team’s starting right guard. They also made a splash in the first round of the draft when they selected Alabama right tackle Evan Neal with the seventh overall pick. The two of these linemen will combine on the right side to form a dynamic run-blocking duo.

Evan Neal is a dominant run-blocker

The New York Giants drafted a mauler at right tackle this offseason. Evan Neal is a versatile offensive lineman that started games at left tackle, left guard, and right tackle in his collegiate career. The Giants drafted Neal to be their starting right guard immediately and he will provide them with a major upgrade in both the pass-blocking and run-blocking departments. But, particularly, Evan Neal should excel as a run-blocker.

Evan Neal is a beastly 6-foot-8, 340-pound tank on the offensive line. Neal is aggressive and knows how to use his strength and power as a run-blocker. His power at the point of attack is a top-strength according to The Draft Network and they describe his ideal role as a “dominant run-blocking RT.”

Neal possesses a large frame, measuring in at 6-foot-6 and 360 pounds. Neal uses his massive frame and power to move defenders off the line of scrimmage when run blocking. – The Draft Network on Evan Neal

Mark Glowinski a quality run-blocking guard for the Giants

On the left shoulder of Evan Neal will be starting right guard Mark Glowinski. The Giants signed Mark Glowinski to a three-year, $20 million contract this offseason. Glowinksi comes to New York with seven years of experience. He spent the last four years starting 55 games with the Indianapolis Colts.

Mark Glowinski is also an exceptional run-blocker. Glowinski ranked 11th in run block win rate from the guard position in 2021 (PFF). PFF describes the Giants’ new right guard as “a plus athlete who has been an above-average zone blocker in his starting stint with Indianapolis the past several seasons.”

Where Mark Glowinski may falter in pass-protection he more than makes up for it in the running game. Mark Glowinski and Evan Neal will combine together to create a wrecking force on the right side of the Giants’ offensive line. Right guard and right tackle have been positions of weakness for the Giants over the last several years. Glowinski and Neal should turn those weaknesses into strengths as they dominate opposing defenders in the running game.

Ranking the New York Giants offensive line positions

new york giants offensive line

The New York Giants have a far improved offensive line on paper compared to their 2021 unit. Having moved on from Nate Solder and Will Hernandez, the Giants already seem to be in a better spot, especially after allocating three draft picks toward the line.

Drafting Evan Neal, Josh Ezeudu, and Marcus McKethan should inject more starting-level talent and depth into a unit that desperately needs it.

In fact, even new offensive line coach Bobby Johnson indicated that players were suffering from “PTSD” based on the previous regimen’s strategy.

“I would say this: I did notice a sense of, in this profession whether you’re a coach or a player you have things that we call scar tissue or, not to make light of the situation, some PTSD over things that have happened to you that shape your identity or shape your philosophy, and there’s some guys I’ve interacted with that have had that, because of things that have happened in the recent past.’’

With several new players on the roster, Johnson can really begin to mold some of these youngsters into quality players.

Ranking each position on the New York Giants offensive line:

1.) LT – Andrew Thomas

Andrew Thomas is the resident star on the OL, especially after enjoying a dominant 2021 season. Thomas struggled during his rookie campaign back in 2020, giving up 10 sacks, eight quarterback hits, and 39 hurries over 615 pass-blocking snaps. However, Thomas took a significant step forward last year, allowing just two sacks, three QB hits, and 13 hurries over 517 snaps.

The Giants expect him to continue dominating and setting the tone at left tackle, the most important position on the offensive line.

2.) RG – Mark Glowinski

The Giants signed former Indianapolis Colts guard Mark Glowinski to a $20 million deal over three seasons. At 29 years old, Glowinski has experience with the Seattle Seahawks and Colts but has gradually improved over time.

Last season, Glowinski gave up two sacks, eight quarterback hits, and 28 hurry‘s over 475 pass-blocking snaps, but he saw a tremendous uptick in efficiency during the second half of the season.

After Week 8, he didn’t allow a single sack, and after Week 10, his quarterback was not hit from that position. He did give up a few hurries every now and then, but his run-blocking production skyrocketed, and he became a true lockdown right guard. If he can play at that level for the Giants, he will provide a rock next to Evan Neal, who’s just starting to learn the ropes.

3.) RT – Evan Neal

The Giants utilized the 7th overall pick on Evan Neal recently. Neal is a 6’8″, 345-pound lineman who’s coming off a dominant season with Alabama. Neal has a healthy split of run and pass blocking snaps from 2021. He enjoyed 423 in the running game and 650 true pass-blocking stops. He gave up two sacks, six hits, and 11 hurries during his final season with Alabama.

One thing is for sure, Neal is going to be a dominant run-blocker right out of the gate with his mammoth size. There’s not a single edge defender that will be able to overpower him, but he has endured struggles with quicker pass rushers at times. If he can improve his pass protection gradually, he could become an elite right tackle in the foreseeable future.

As an added bonus, the Giants now have both tackle positions locked in on rookie contracts, giving them more flexibility in the future with salary space.

4.) LG – Max Garcia/Shane Lemieux.Josh Ezeudu

The Giants have a true position battle brewing at left guard with Max Garcia, Shane Lemieux, and Josh Ezeudu. All three players could easily steal the job, but I have my money on Ezeudu, who was phenomenal for UNC last season.

Ezeudu has great strength, featuring a tempered mentality in the run game. He has incredibly quick feet but needs to connect them with his hands more efficiently at the next level.

With experience at both left tackle and left guard, he completely understands that side of the line. It is entirely possible that Josh starts his career as a priority backup, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him earn starting snaps at some point in the season.

5.) C – Jon Feliciano

The most questionable position on the line is center, which is now housed by Jon Feliciano. Feliciano only has 323 total snaps at center but has learned from some tremendous talents in the past with Buffalo (notably Mitch Morse). He served as more of a versatile option for the Bills, but Bobby Johnson is giving him an opportunity to start, given his aggressive mentality and awesome style.

It is clear that Johnson considers him their tone-setter, but his inexperience could get him in trouble early in the season.

A first glance at the Giants’ starting offensive line during OTAs

evan neal, giants

The New York Giants have kicked off OTAs, giving fans and analysts a first glimpse at their rebuilt offensive line. The offensive line has been a weak point for the Giants over the course of the past several seasons.

Recently, though, they have begun to make improvements. 2020 first-round pick Andrew Thomas started to shine in his 2021 sophomore season. This year the Giants spent another first-round pick on the offensive line, selecting Alabama tackle Evan Neal at seven overall. These two, combined with a few other new additions, are giving fans hope for the future.

The Giants’ first-team offensive line at OTAs

According to the reporters, today’s first-team offensive line during team drills was as follows:

  • Left tackle: Andrew Thomas (Korey Cunningham filled in as Thomas works back from injury)
  • Left Guard: Shane Lemieux
  • Center: Jon Feliciano
  • Right Guard: Mark Glowinski
  • Right Tackle: Evan Neal

The names are mostly what was expected. However, Shane Lemieux stands out on this list as a pleasant surprise. The 2020 fifth-round pick was a starter on the Giants’ offensive line last year before going down with a season-ending injury. This left the Giants with a revolving door at left guard position that could turn into a camp battle this summer. Shane Lemieux received the first start at OTAs, but he has competition. Behind him are veteran Max Garcia and rookie Joshua Ezeudu. Considering Lemieux’s inconsistency in the past, it is very possible for Ezeudu and Garcia to challenge him for the starting job.

Offensive line practice recap

The Giants threw their two first-round rookies right in the mix today, having Kayvon Thibodeaux and Evan Neal participate in team drills with the first team. According to Jordan Raanan of ESPN, Evan Neal “more than held his own” while practicing as the starting right tackle. The Giants have high hopes for the 6-foot-7, 351-pound mammoth-man that they selected in the first round.

Left tackle Andrew Thomas wore a red shirt today and “only participated sparingly in some drills” as he works back from ankle surgery (Raanan). Nick Gates and Matt peart also worked on the sideline in red jerseys as they recover from serious injuries.

Jone Feliciano is taking over as the Giants’ starting center this year. He has familiarity with the coaching staff as a former Buffalo Bills offensive guard. The Giants’ new offensive line coach, Bobby Johnson, shared his nickname for Feliciano: “Dirtbag.” Johnson explained the term of endearment, saying, Feliciano plays football like a dirtbag, and all of his offensive linemen need to play that way, or they will not play at all. Expect to see Jon Feliciano act as the leader on the offensive line who brings a real mean streak.

Mark Glowinski is the presumed penned-down starting right guard on the New York Giants offensive line. The Giants signed Glowinski to a three-year deal giving him an over $6 million salary on average annually. This was arguably the Giants’ biggest splash-signing in free agency this year. Glowinski is an established veteran who performed well in the past for the Indianapolis Colts. No surprise seeing Glowinski with the first team.

A revamped Giants offensive line

The New York Giants’ offensive line looks drastically different than it did a year ago. The Giants’ line is younger and features more established talent than it has in recent years. If this new front line can live up to expectations, that could pave the way for a successful season from Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley.

Projecting the Giants’ starting 2022 offensive line after the NFL Draft

The 2022 NFL Draft has officially wrapped up and the New York Giants came away as big winners. They upgraded multiple positions of significant need, including their offensive line. After drafting three offensive linemen and signing six in free agency, Joe Schoen’s revamping of the position group is seemingly complete. The Giants’ offensive line will look significantly different in 2022 from the way it looked in 2021. Here’s a look at what the New York Giants’ offensive line could potentially look like in 2022:

Projecting the Giants’ starting offensive line in 2022

Left Tackle: Andrew Thomas

No-brainer, Andrew Thomas will be the starting left tackle for the New York Giants in 2022. The 2020 fourth-overall draft pick has progressed nicely in his first two career seasons. His PFF pass-blocking grade rose from 54.7 in his rookie 2020 season to 82.1 in 2021. He allowed only 2 total sacks on the season. Andrew Thomas took a big leap in his second season and has a promising career ahead of him as one of the best young left tackles in the NFL.

Left Guard: Joshua Ezeudu

The Giants have some competition at the left guard position. Shane Lemieux could win back his spot once he recovers from his injury, however, that scenario seems unlikely considering the poor performances the Oregon product had turned in throughout his first two career seasons.

Max Garcia and Joshua Ezeudu are new additions that will compete for the starting position. The Giants signed Garcia last month and drafted Ezeudu this week. Ultimately, the Giants’ third-round pick out of North Carolina should win this position. Ezeudu “has the potential and traits to become a starting NFL offensive lineman,” according to PFF. He split time between left guard and left tackle and earned a 77.8 overall PFF grade in 2021. Joshua Ezeudu has quick feet and good size at his position which should help him develop into a starter for the New York Giants.

Center: Jon Feliciano

Former Buffalo Bills offensive lineman Jon Feliciano was signed by the New York Giants this offseason to play center. Feliciano primarily played guard with Buffalo but the Giants plan to move him over to the middle of the offensive line. There is not much competition for Jon Feliciano at center, considering Nick Gates’s injury. If Gates is able to get healthy for the 2022 season, he could potentially compete for the starting center spot. But for now, it seems like a safe bet to say that Jon Feliciano will be the starting center for the Giants this upcoming season.

Right Guard: Mark Glowinski

Arguably the biggest splash signing for the Giants in free agency this offseason was right guard Mark Glowinski. The Giants signed Glowinski to a three-year deal paying him a little over $6 million per year. Glowinski received starting money from the Giants after an impressive four-year run as a starter with the Indianapolis Colts. Glowinski posted a 70.1 PFF grade in 2021, starting 14 games and allowing 2 sacks. The New York Giants needed veteran stability on their offensive line which is exactly what Mark Glowinski will provide them with as their starting right guard.

Right Tackle: Evan Neal

With the seventh overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, the New York Giants selected Alabama offensive tackle prospect Evan Neal. This was viewed as a home-run selection by the Giants with their second first-round pick. Evan Neal is a 6-foot-8, 350-pound monster that was once viewed as a potential first-overall draft pick. He only allowed 24 pressures over the past two years between left and right tackle (PFF). Evan Neal will step in as a day-one impact starter for the New York Giants at right tackle.

Giants land perfect draft pair in 1st round with Kayvon Thibodeaux and Evan Neal selections

kayvon thibodeaux, new york giants

As the 2022 NFL draft unfolded, the New York Giants weren’t exactly sure what players would be available with the 5th overall selection. However, after the New York Jets selected Sauce Garden out of Cincinnati to fill a role in the secondary, meaning the Giants had their pick of all three offensive tackles and Oregon stand-out pass rusher, Kayvon Thibodeaux.

General manager Joe Schoen had a big decision to make, stay put and take his offensive tackle of choice or snag Thibodeaux and prevent the Carolina Panthers from stealing him prior to the 7th overall selection.

Schoen made the obvious decision, landing Thibodeau and settling for whichever tackle fell to him two picks later. Last season, Kayvon produced 7.0 sacks, 12 tackles for loss, and 49 total tackles, presenting impeccable tangible traits and leadership capabilities. With an outstanding charismatic personality, Thibodeaux fits the New York media to perfection, and the Giants executed diligent research on him to make sure he could handle the load.

Clearly, they thought highly enough of him, selecting 5th overall and injecting him into a young defense that features Azeez Ojulari on the opposite side. Having two cost-controlled pass rushers is the perfect way to rebuild a team, and the Giants can now move forward with confidence knowing their defensive line is set.

However, they didn’t forget about Daniel Jones and protecting him at the line of scrimmage. The Giants went ahead and snagged Evan Neal at No. 7, solidifying right tackle for the foreseeable future. The Giants now have two rookie contracts in Andrew Thomas and Neal at offensive tackle, which is a fantastic situation to build around.

Last season, Neal enjoyed 1073 snaps, including 650 pass-blocking. Evan is already a dominant run blocker coming from an NFL-ready program in Alabama, making him a perfect fit and transition player.

The first round couldn’t have unfolded better for Big Blue, and social media reacted accordingly.

New York Giants Mock Draft Rounds 1-2: Securing a right tackle, corner, and pass rusher

evan neal, giants

With the NFL Draft quickly approaching on Thursday, the New York Giants are in a great spot with tons of leverage holding the 5th and 7th overall picks. Either they can look to move back and acquire more draft capital, as new general manager Joe Schoen indicated during his most recent press conference, or they can stay put and take the best player available approach.

Either way, the Giants will have two impact players on Day 1 or more capital to utilize down the road. Nonetheless, let’s take a look at a mock draft that is seemingly more realistic with every passing day.

New York Giants Mock Draft Rounds 1-2:

5.) Alabama OT – Evan Neal

There is plenty of reason to believe that Alabama offensive tackle Evan Neal will be available with the 5th overall selection.

With teams extremely high on Ikem Ekwonu and Charles Cross, the Giants will have their fair opportunity to land a right tackle for the future. Neal, luckily, has experience at right tackle, which is the position they’re looking to plug.

Last season, he enjoyed 1073 total snaps, including 650 pass-blocking. Neal is a dominant run blocker and well-rounded player, but team’s like the increased upside with Ekwonu and Cross.

At 6’7″ and 350 pounds, Neal is a physical specimen that ran a faster 40-yard dash time than Ekwonu at 30-pounds heavier. Most of his struggles come in the form of fundamentals or understanding plays as they unfold. More experience and good coaching should iron out any deficiencies in his game, making him an easy selection for the Giants.

7.) Cincinnati CB – Sauce Gardner

Next on the list is Sauce Gardner out of Cincinnati, who enjoyed 968 snaps last year, including 482 in coverage. Gardner allowed a 50% completion rate for 131 yards and zero touchdowns. There’s a reason to believe that Gardner is a perfect fit for Wink Martindale’s system, which demands great cornerback play in a heavy Cover 1 scheme with an aggressive mentality.

Having a young talented corner to pair with Adoree Jackson, assuming the Giants trade or cut James Bradberry, would be excellent. Featuring great length and instinct, Sauce has the potential to be the best defensive back in the class, despite teams falling in love with Derek Stingley as the draft approaches.

36.) Oklahoma EDGE – Nik Bonitto

In the 2nd round, the Giants look to address EDGE rusher after skipping out with one of their two first-round picks. With Martindale loving speed off the line of scrimmage, Oklahoma stand-out pass rusher Nick Bonitto would fit the bill perfectly. Enjoying 264 pass-rush snaps last season, Bonitto tallied 7.0 sacks and 15 tackles for loss.

Bonitto has explosive speed off the edge, putting quarterbacks in immediate distress and forcing premature decisions. If the Giants can curate pressure immediately, the cornerbacks don’t have to stick in coverage as long. The problem with Martindale’s system is that the longer the defensive backs are forced to stay back in coverage, the more difficult it becomes to lock down receivers. Having speed off the edge is essential, and Bonitto offers that and more.

Who Should the New York Giants Draft? | Evan Neal Vs Ikem Ekwonu

Evan Neal, Ikem Ekwonu

The New York Giants are in the market for a new right tackle entering the 2022 NFL Draft. The Giants have expressed significant interest in each of the top two tackles in this year’s draft class, Evan Neal and Ikem Ekwonu. If both prospects are on the board for the Giants at five overall, which one should Big Blue select?

Who is the better fit for the Giants? | Evan Neal vs Ikem Ekwonu

There is a realistic chance that the Giants will have the opportunity to choose between the draft’s top two offensive tackles with the fifth overall pick in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Alabama’s Evan Neal and North Carolina’s Ikem Ekwonu are the consensus top-two tackle prospects. Granted, there is a chance that one of these tackles is selected inside the top-four picks. But regardless, the Giants need to decide which tackle target is a better fit for their offense.

Evan Neal and Ikem Ekwonu are both top-tier offensive tackle prospects. Many consider the two equal in terms of talent/skill level. However, Neal and Ekwonu play the game of football with different strengths and scheme fits. Both Neal and Ekwonu are talented enough to be day-one starters in the NFL. But which player will fit better into Giants head coach Brian Daboll’s pass-centric offensive attack?

Left versus right tackle

Whichever tackle the Giants select will need to transition across the line. Both Neal and Ekwonu started at left tackle in 2021, but the Giants have that position solidified by Andrew Thomas. This could give Evan Neal an edge since he actually has experience playing right tackle. Ikem Ekwonu exclusively played left tackle in college, but Evan Neal started at right tackle in 2020 before switching to left tackle in his final season.

Ideal role and scheme fit

Evan Neal is a 6-foot-8, 337-pounder whose “ideal role” according to The Draft Network is as “a dominant run blocking RT.” TDN says that Neal’s best scheme fit is “a downhill power scheme that allows him to use his rare combination of size and power to punish defensive lineman.” This scheme does not match up well with that of the Giants’ new offense, however, that is not to say that Neal could not find success with Big Blue.

Inversely, the 6-foot-4, 310-pounder Ikem Ekwonu’s ideal role is a “starting left tackle,” according to TDN. His scheme fit is in a “wide zone rushing attack but he’s a universal scheme fit.” Ekwonu has more versatility to his game, but his lack of size and power might make him exclusively successful as a left tackle compared to a strong-side right tackle.

Run-blocking versus pass-protection

Both Evan Neal and Ikem Ekwonu are physical, violent run-blockers. PFF describes Ekwonu as “the single most dominant run-blocking tackle in the country.” His strengths are definitely rooted in the running game. According to PFF, Ekwonu’s 18 big-time blocks in the run game this season are seven more than the next-closest Power-5 offensive lineman. But Ickey was no slouch as a poss-protector either. He only allowed 3 sacks across 500 pass-blocking snaps in 2021. Additionally, Ekwonu has the lowest pressure % allowed with RPOs, screens, and play-action removed in this year’s class (PFF).

Evan Neal is also described as a dominant run-blocker, but he seems to get a bit more credit for his pass protection. PFF notes that Neal “only allowed 24 pressures over the past two years between left and right tackle.” Neal is a better run-blocker than pass-blocker, but Lance Zierlein of NFL.com describes his weaknesses as “correctable areas of improvement in pass protection.”

Who should the Giants draft?

Realistically, the New York Giants cannot go wrong with either one of these options. Evan Neal and Ikem Ekwonu are both excellent offensive tackle prospects that will turn into quality starters in the NFL.

If the Giants want a prospect with more refinement and experience against top-tier competition, they should target Alabama’s, Evan Neal. Neal also has a more moldable frame with power and explosion in the running game that cannot be taught. Evan Neal’s experience playing both left and right tackle and a high pass-blocking level might make him a perfect fit for the New York Giants.

However, Ikem Ekwonu is the guy the Giants would draft to re-establish their running game. Statistically, there is no better run-blocker in this year’s draft class than Ekwonu. He might not have the biggest frame, but Ekwonu has the skill to succeed as a tackle in the NFL. He is powerful and coachable. The New York Giants could make Ikem Ekwonu a stud right tackle in their new offense.

Giants have ‘real possibility’ of landing stud Alabama tackle at 5th overall

evan neal, giants

It has been over a decade since the New York Giants had a premium offensive line. With years of poor drafting plaguing the trenches, new management is looking to solve it once and for all.

However, it ultimately boils down to coaching, as we’ve seen over the past few seasons, which left tackle Andrew Thomas somehow managed to escape despite everybody around him failing to develop.

Thomas took a monstrous step forward in his growth last season, and the Giants have an opportunity to pair a great young tackle on the right side, taking a big step forward and helping Daniel Jones put the pieces together.

Having two first-round picks gives the Giants great leverage in acquiring one of the top three offensive tackles on the board. Whether it be Ikem Ekwonu, Charles Cross, or Evan Neal, Big Bue has an opportunity to inject more talent into the right tackle position after years of turnover.

With the NFL Draft quickly approaching, player stocks have fluctuated, and the Giants are now in line to potentially land Alabama stud tackle Evan Neal.

Neal is one of the best players in the entire draft class, making him a steal at 5th overall for the Giants. Standing at 6’7” and 337 pounds, he ran a faster 40-yard dash than Ekwonu, who is 30 pounds lighter.

Neal features an unbelievable frame covered in muscle, similar to Aaron Donald. While there is some concern with his intensity and aggressiveness, he has impeccable fundamentals entering the NFL coming from a pro-ready Alabama system. Some believe he’s getting preferential treatment because he’s coming from Alabama, but there’s no question he would immediately upgrade the RT position for the Giants and put them in place to build a sufficient line finally.

In addition, moving him to the right side may benefit him long-term since it wouldn’t be the quarterback’s blindside.

NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein raves about Evan Neal in his draft profile:

Three-year starter with rare combination of measurables, talent and pedigree. Neal has experience against the best competition the college game has to offer. He has started at both left and right tackle and should project on the left side if he can continue to manage his weight. While he has flashes of greatness on tape, he doesn’t always maintain that level throughout a game. Intensity and consistency are two areas that will be key in matching performance with profile. Technique has been drilled into him and Neal plays with good fundamentals across the board. He’s well-versed and capable in a variety of run schemes and has correctable areas of improvement in pass protection. Neal will come into the league as a good NFL starter, but greatness will require additional attitude and action.
Looking at Neal objectively, there is reason to believe that Ekwonu and Cross could have better professional careers. Still, Neal is the most well-rounded player at the position and has All-Pro upside if developed correctly.