After rough rookie season, Giants’ Evan Neal ‘confident’ he can make Year 2 leap

New York Giants offensive tackle Evan Neal (73) against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field
New York Giants offensive tackle Evan Neal (73) against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field / Eric Hartline – USA TODAY SPORTS

The first season in the NFL is always a tough transition for rookies, and in some cases, having to make a position change makes things even harder.

The Giants saw that first hand with first-round pick Evan Neal last season. Transitioning from left tackle to the right side, the Alabama product struggled to get acclimated to the new position.

After being selected with the seventh overall pick, he finished tied for the third most pressures allowed in all of football (52) and gave up five sacks across 13 starts, certainly not the type of production he or the Giants were hoping for.

With that in mind, Neal went to work extra hard this offseason. He not only worked on improving his stance throughout the time off but he also worked on transforming his body.

Neal hired a chef in the offseason and completely changed his diet. As a result, he’s shown up for camp in tremendous shape, putting on more muscle and dropping between “10 or 15 pounds.”

“I’m definitely in a lot better shape,” he said. “Just been doing more of what I’ve always been doing. I’ve always worked out and trained extremely hard but one thing I can say is I was a lot more conscious about my diet.

“It was helpful in terms of what I was putting into my body. I feel a lot healthier,” Neal added.

It’s not just physically Neal is feeling great heading into his sophomore campaign, he also seems mentally ready to go as well. Now in camp, the 22-year-old has turned the page and is just focused on improving each day.

“Last year was last year, that’s the past, I’m focused on the present now,” he said. “This is year two. I’ve seen everything, I’ve been in the building for a while now. Im just going to go out there and do what I’ve been doing my entire life, which is playing football.

“Whether it’s pass protections, run blocking, I want to be the absolute best that I can be and it’s going take one day at a time.”

With that newfound confidence, Neal has enjoyed a solid first few days of training camp. If he is able to make significant steps forward this season it could be a huge boost for Daniel Jones and Big Blue’s offense. 

While some still have their doubts, Neal certainly has faith in himself and his abilities.

“I am confident in myself to make the jump that I need to because I know the work that I put in day in and day out,” he said. “Just putting in that work one day at a time, that’s what training camp is for and it’s going to lead into the season.”

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