The New York Giants have nabbed one of the premier offensive linemen in this year’s draft class with the selection of Evan Neal, an offensive tackle from Alabama.
Neal is being brought in to shore up the offensive line for Big Blue as he will come in and play opposite of Andrew Thomas, making a formidable tackle duo out of the SEC. The Giants have been in desperate need of solid tackle play for some time and hopefully, Neal can provide this for New York.
Here are five things to know about Neal.
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The Crimson Tide offensive tackle is a monster of a prospect standing at 6-foot-7 and 337 pounds. That’s Neal’s size after he dropped 15 pounds this offseason to gain quickness. He uses this elite length with his 34-inch arms to ward off defenders and be a literal stopgap on the outside of the offensive line. He is able to use his elite power and length to keep most defenders at bay making him an elite pass protector.
Practices against the best
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Throughout his career, Neal has had experience in practice going against the best. The SEC, and specifically Alabama, always has the best talent with five stars manually getting fed through the program. However, between Christian Barmore (now a New England Patriot) and Heisman candidate, and potential 2023 first overall draft pick, Will Anderson, Neal has had some elite experience going against the best in practice.
And Anderson had some amazing things to say about Neal as a player and a teammate.
“That is a 20-year-old, myself, going against an NFL tackle every day in practice,” Anderson said last November. “He is strong, he’s a big man, he takes up a lot of space. He has a nice first step. He gets from point A to point B very fast. He’s great at run blocking. And that is definitely iron sharpens iron every day.”
Two First-Team All-SEC tackles
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With the selection of Neal, the Giants will now have two former All-SEC tackles (Andrew Thomas) manning the edge for Daniel Jones.
It has been no secret that the Giants have had one of the league’s worst offensive line units for some time now but it is good to see that Joe Schoen is investing in the personnel group this offseason. With two of the better offensive linemen in the best conference in college football, New York should be able to turn things around in this department.
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Neal has some amazing experience at Alabama as he came in and was an instant starter at left guard. Neal started 13 games for the Crimson Tide earning an SEC All-Freshman Team selection. He then transitioned to right tackle his sophomore year where he started 13 games and then, finally, in his junior season Neal started 15 games at left tackle where he was an All-American.
With 31 starts under his belt, Neal has more experience than most other draft prospects. He also has experience playing on either side of the line which is good as the Giants will likely utilize him as a right tackle.
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Last of all, Neal is a champion. He is a two-time SEC champion, helping Alabama win the conference his sophomore and junior year. Neal also won on the biggest stage, winning the College Football Playoffs in his sophomore year at Alabama.
This winning mindset and hatred of losing is something that the Giants are trying to implement in their new culture and Neal should help already being a champion.