The Giants could target Alabama OT Evan Neal in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft.
Evan Neal Info
- OT, Alabama
- 6-foot-7, 351 pounds
- 2021 First-team All-SEC
- 2021 Consensus All-American
How Evan Neal would fit into the Giants roster
If Evan Neal is available at No. 5, and the Giants feel as if he’s the best tackle still on the board, they should absolutely draft him. The top two priorities for the Giants in this upcoming draft (at least to me) will be addressing the offensive line and pass rush. And given the clear vacancy at the right tackle position, general manager Joe Schoen‘s tendency to address the offensive line (he’s picked up five linemen in free agency), and the need to protect Daniel Jones, various signs point towards the Giants drafting a tackle at No. 5.
The selection of Neal would lead to him becoming a day-one starter on the right side of the line. Andrew Thomas is shaping up to be the (hopeful) left tackle of the future, so if Neal were to pan out, the Giants could lock down their offensive line bookends for years to come.
Evan Neal Film Room notes
Neal and Alabama’s 2021 win over Miami
In the above clip, Neal is lined up in a pass-blocking stance at the top of your screen in the left tackle spot. Even for his size, he shows great athleticism to quickly emerge from his stance to stop the oncoming pass rush. He subsequently keeps his head on a swivel and uses great footwork and hand placement to slow down the initial defender, turn, and then put a pass block on a second rushing defender.
Even with the (offside) Miami edge rusher being a step ahead of Neal, the Crimson Tide tackle again portrays that sheer athleticism to rapidly emerge from his stance. He then uses quick footwork and precise hand placement to eventually prevent the opponent from reaching Bama quarterback Bryce Young, despite the edge rusher having an unfair advantage to commence the play.
Neal keeps his eyes upfield while backpedaling in the above pass-blocking clip, and stays balanced to retain his strength and put a huge hit on the Hurricane defender.
I love this rep from Neal (bottom of your screen). He uses his vision and athletic footwork to slow down the initial defender who’s gunning toward his inside shoulder. Neal is then able to turn and sidestep to keep up with the oncoming pass rusher who’s attempting to bend around his outside shoulder.
Being able to combat this type of stunt will be crucial at the next level.
Neal and Alabama’s 2021 SEC Championship win over Georgia
Neal’s speed is on display in this first clip, as he’s able to swiftly get to the outside as the pulling tackle.
This is great footwork, but more so, this is phenomenal and strong hand placement by Neal to slow down the oncoming pass rusher in the above clip.
A big reason for this touchdown pass from Bryce Young is the blindside protection he’s receiving from Neal. Evan keeps a low base to retain his balance on the pass block, which proves crucial on this scoring play.
Neal is able to combat a pass-rushing stunt by Georgia in this clip.
And finally, we see a great run-block from the future first-rounder, as he uses foot and hand placement to steer his assignment directly away from the outside hole. This leads to a first down for Bama running back Trey Sanders.
Neal’s skill set is very wide-ranging — he’s certainly ready to take that next step and portray his talents at the professional level. Given that, along with his experience against elite-level talent in the SEC, Neal may be the safest pick out of all the offensive tackles projected to go early in the first round (he, NC State’s Ikem Ekwonu, and Mississippi State’s Charles Cross).
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