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Giants news, 6/23: Evan Neal, Saquon Barkley, Dexter Lawrence and Leonard Williams, more headlines

New York Giants news for Friday

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Good morning, New York Giants fans!

How much worse was Giants’ Evan Neal than other top-10 tackles?

BBV's Rivka Boord goes inside the numbers to ask one of the key questions for the Giants: how much can last year's first round pick Evan Neal improve?

Statistically, Neal is not the first top-10 tackle in history to struggle mightily. Obviously, Giants fans will turn to Andrew Thomas as a classic example, but Thomas improved far more in the second half of his rookie season than Neal did. Furthermore, expecting Neal to be a second-team All-Pro by his third year is a bit much.

The average rookie season grade was 67.6, which would have ranked 41st out of 70 tackles in 2022. Over the next five years, the average grade climbed to 73.7, which would have ranked 24th. The median rookie grade was 65.3 (45th) and the median over the next five seasons was 74.1 (23rd). In other words, on average, these tackles improved from below-average tackles to above-average ones.

While that bodes well for Neal, the downside is that none of these tackles were even close to as bad as he was when they were rookies. His 44.1 grade was 10.8 points lower than the lowest rookie grade from 2010-17, which, incidentally, belonged to another Giants first-rounder in Flowers.

The odds are stacked against Neal at this point. The fact that the Giants are so heavily relying on a big second-year improvement from him is concerning.

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Other Giant observations

The NFL’s best duos at every position | PFF

Defensive Interior: Dexter Lawrence and Leonard Williams, New York Giants

In 2022, Lawrence broke out in a big way, as he and Chris Jones are the only two interior defenders to ever finish with a higher PFF grade than Aaron Donald in a season since he entered the league in 2014. While 2022 was Lawrence’s breakout season, Williams has been one of the most consistently reliable players since he entered the league in 2015, never having a PFF grade lower than 70 in his eight seasons.

Fat Joe and Eli Manning go sneaker shopping

Darrian Beavers owns the ‘king of trucks.’ Now, he wants to help Giants’ run defense rule Eagles |

Beavers was still limited during spring practices, but he said his knee is 95% healthy — and he expects to be full-go when training camp starts in late July. And then, he’ll try to earn a starting job — something he might’ve done coming out of camp last year, when he flashed potential.

“I just wanted to prove [last year] that I belonged,” he said. “Everything was fitting in line, like how I hoped. And then all of a sudden, something happens.”

“I’ve got to come back first,” he said. “I just want everyone to know that I can play. I don’t want to get too much into that [starting role expectations stuff] right now, just because I don’t want to focus on that. The only thing I want to focus on is just making sure my knee is good.”

Top 100 NFL Players of 2023: Patrick Mahomes No. 1 as QBs go 1-2-3 |

The highest ranked Giants in Pete Prisco top 100 entering the new season is left tackle Andrew Thomas at 24. "After a slow start to his career, he has developed into a top-level tackle. His ability to hold up on the blind side is big for the Giants line," writes Prisco.

Other Giants making the list include Dexter Lawrence at 34, and Saquon Barkley at 54. Those cited as honorable mentions were Kayvon Thibodeaux and Leonard Williams.

One non-QB each NFL team can't afford to lose in 2023 |

New York Giants: OT Andrew Thomas

His 2022 success confirmed his arrival as a top young tackle a la Penei Sewell in Detroit. For all the talk about getting Daniel Jones more help out wide, Brian Daboll's attack probably hinges more on Thomas standing pat at LT to keep the QB upright.

2023 NFL season: How will touches shake out within crowded position groups? |

Based on his late-season flourish, we shouldn't be surprised to see Isaiah Hodgins not only on the roster but possibly starting. Speed isn't his thing, but Hodgins showed toughness and a clutch gene in an impressive breakout after being claimed on waivers from Buffalo last November. Likewise, they might not be the most exciting options on paper, but Darius Slayton and Parris Campbell appear to be roster locks and in the mix for top-four WR roles.

The biggest questions come with third-round pick Jalin Hyatt and three players coming off injuries, second-year pro Wan'Dale Robinson and veterans Sterling Shepard and Jamison Crowder. If Robinson shows he's fully back from his torn ACL, he deserves a shot to prove he can be a difference maker, likely inside. Shepard (who also tore his ACL with the Giants last season) and Crowder (who suffered a broken ankle in Buffalo) might be up against it, but they also deserve a chance. And if Hyatt proves his speed translates from college, where he was one of the best deep-ball specialists last season, he absolutely should have a role catching moon shots from Daniel Jones.

Around the league

DeMarcus Lawrence: I don’t feel like there’s a huge gap between Eagles, Cowboys | ProFootballTalk

Jets OC Nathaniel Hackett aims to be ‘best version’ of himself in reunion with Aaron Rodgers |

Aaron Rodgers pushes for acceptance of psychedelics |

Chuck Clark out for season with torn ACL | ProFootballTalk

Maxx Crosby wouldn't be surprised if Tom Brady 'shows up in a Raiders jersey' |

Titans' Malik Willis making strides in Year 2 amid QB battle |

Miami-Dade Police say Tyreek Hill remains under investigation | ProFootballTalk

Free-agent RB Kareem Hunt not frustrated by lack of market: 'I'm just being patient' |

Analyzing state of the NFL running back market | PFF

NFL, NFLPA commit additional 500K to fund studies of innovative pain management solutions, including CBD |

Bill Romanowski, 4-time Super Bowl champion LB, sued by U.S. for $15 million in back taxes | The Athletic

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