During OTAs, offensive line Bobby Johnson said he had learned quickly that New York Giants rookie right tackle Evan Neal, the No. 7 overall pick, “puts a lot of pressure on himself.”
Speaking with media on Saturday, Neal agreed with assessment.
“I like to say I’m my biggest critic. Nobody can criticize me harder than myself,” Neal said. “I focus on the bad stuff, but I’ve also got to acknowledge the good as well because there is good that I do. I just watch the film and I take away from it what I can and just focus on getting better, not making the same mistakes and building off the positive things.”
Neal knows there are high expectations for him and rookie edge defender Kayvon Thibodeaux, the No. 5 overall pick.
“The team expects me to go out there and do my job and I expect myself to do my best every day. In preparation, in the film room, and out there on the practice field. I expect a lot out of myself more than anybody else would expect out of me, that’s for sure,” Neal said. “There is a reason why they drafted us, so we are just going to take it day-by-day. At the end of the day, we are still young, we’re rookies, we are still getting the hang of this process. I feel like so far, we’ve been doing a pretty good job.”
Neal and Thibodeaux are linked because of where they were drafted. They never played against each other while Neal was at Alabama and Thibodeaux at Oregon.
“It’s crazy that through high school, and through recruitment, and every major camp that was the matchup that everybody wanted to see. Me versus Kayvon. It’s just so ironic that we ended up on the same NFL team,” Neal said. “I’m just excited to go against him every day, get each other better. I believe that iron sharpens iron.”
Neal said Thibodeaux “hasn’t been chirping” and that the two rookies are “putting our heads down and we’ve been working.”
“We are getting each other better. He beats me some reps, I get him some reps,” Neal said. “That’s what it’s all about, that’s the name of the game – getting better, getting each other better, and iron sharpening iron.”
The Giants will practice in full pads Monday, and Neal is looking forward to that.
“I’m extremely excited I get the chance to get better because when you don’t have pads on, you get better from a sense in pass protection and stuff like that, but it’s not the same. We really can’t fit our combo blocks or really lean on guys in the run game,” Neal said. “I’m definitely excited for that standpoint of it, for sure.
“I am just excited to see what that’s like. I’m ready to get after it.”