Is Evan Neal’s future at right tackle or at one of the two guard spots? The second-year New York Giants offensive lineman left no doubt how he feels about that while speaking to a handful of reporters on Wednesday.
“To be honest, if you want my opinion, as soon as I stepped out of the womb, I stepped out an offensive tackle. And that’s how I feel,” Neal said. “You asked Joe the question. He gave you his analysis on where he felt like he sees me, so there you have it.”
Neal was referring to general manager Joe Schoen, who said “I don’t think so” when I asked him during the bye week if the Giants need to consider moving Neal to guard.
“I went back and watched the Alabama stuff; the kid can play. We just got to get him to be more consistent. Like I’ve got a lot of confidence in Evan, he’s a hard worker, it’s killing him right now to be out there. He’s missing some valuable reps in year two, but as soon as he’s healthy, he’s scratching and clawing to get back,” Schoen said. “We are looking forward to getting him back there, but he knows there is some things he can do better and that’s what we expect from him.”
Neal was a dominant player at Alabama. While that dominance has not yet shown up at the NFL level, Neal believes he can still be the player the Giants hoped they were getting when they selected him No. 7 overall in the 2022 NFL Draft.
“Of course I can. I’ve put a lot of dominant reps on tape, a lot of times they go unnoticed, a lot of times the reps that I struggle get highlighted, but if you really sit back and watch the tape, I do a lot of good things,” Neal said. “I do a lot of dominant things on the football field that a lot of times go unnoticed, but that’s the nature of being an offensive lineman, you’re not noticed until you mess up pretty much, you know what I’m saying? So, it is what it is. I have to continue to get better, I know I have a lot of work to do, and I embrace it, with a smile on my face, so that’s where I’m at.”
Neal suffered a concussion that forced him to miss time in training camp. He has suffered apair of ankle injuries that have forced him to miss five of the last six games. He still is not practicing, so Monday’s game against the Green Bay Packers is going to make four straight and six of seven missed.
Neal doesn’t know when he will be able to play again.
“I’m just going to continue to do everything that I can, day-to-day, working with the trainers, work my (butt) off and whenever that day gets here, that’s when it gets here,” he said. “Whenever that day gets here, that’s when it gets here. (Heck) yeah, I want to go back out there this season, but just going to see where I’m at, see how I progress and move forward from there.”