Giants draft pick Evan Neal has always been a big deal

How long has Evan Neal been such a big guy?

Pretty much forever.

“In eighth grade, I weighed 378 pounds,” he said.

He’s not that big anymore. Neal, who was picked No. 7 in the NFL draft by the Giants, arrived at the Giants facility Saturday and said he weighed 340-342 pounds. That matches the weight he was at Alabama last season.

When he first arrived on the Tuscaloosa campus, Neal weighed up to 390 pounds. Better diet and strength training reduce that tonnage, and Neal actually looks lean in his torso at almost 6ft 8.

“I’ve always carried my weight well,” Neal said. “I can move, if we were running I would always be up front with the O-Line. It was very important to me not to let anyone else overhaul me.

“I just come from a really big, blessed, athletic family. And when I went to college, I knew I had to lose some weight, but I didn’t think of my weight as a project or anything. I just had to cut off a lot of baby fat.”

Alabama's offense meets Evan Neal after he was selected by the Giants as the No. 7 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Alabama offense meets Evan Neal after being drafted 7th overall by the Giants in the 2022 NFL Draft.
USA TODAY sports

Neal is expected to move straight into the starting lineup with the right tackle.

With six picks on Day 3 of the draft, the Giants responded to needs and filled their depth chart. In the fourth round, they selected San Diego State tight end Daniel Bellinger and Iowa safety Dane Belton. With three picks in the fifth round, the Giants took linebacker Micah McFadden (Indiana), defensive tackle DJ Davidson (Arizona State) and guard Marcus McKethan (North Carolina) with them. In the sixth round, the Giants took linebacker Darrian Beavers (Cincinnati) with them.

Get the latest updates on every New York Giants pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, plus a hometown analysis from the New York Post.

“I think we added competition and depth,” general manager Joe Schoen said after his first draft with the Giants. “Hopefully as many guys as possible become starters, but we’re not going to give anything to anyone. We want to see progress, I’ve said that since day 1 and I think that will get us there.”

North Carolina offensive lineman Marcus McKethan was selected by the Giants in the fifth round.
North Carolina offensive lineman Marcus McKethan was selected by the Giants in the fifth round.
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With Neal, Joshua Ezeudu and McKethan, Schoen has now added nine new offensive linemen since his tenure.

With 11 players in that draft class, Schoen said he wants to focus on defense with the signings of undrafted free agents.

The draft came and went, and cornerback James Bradberry (and his $21.8 million salary cap) remains. Schoen said he spoke to Bradberry’s representative. Could Bradberry stay on the list at a cheaper price?

“We’ll see where that goes,” Schoen said. “We are working on some contingency plans.”

Edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux, who is ranked No. 5 overall, wore the No. 5 in Oregon. He wants to wear that jersey number with the Giants, but it’s currently being used by veteran kicker Graham Gano. When Safety Jabrill Peppers arrived two years ago, he wanted #5 but felt the Gano set was priced too high. It sounds like Thibodeaux is bracing itself for the financial commitment it will take to wrestle No. 5 from Gano.

“This is real now, we’re talking real numbers,” said Thibodeaux. “If you tell someone 250, I don’t know what 250 means. You forget all the zeros after it. Things are very different now.” Giants draft pick Evan Neal has always been a big deal


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