Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Saquon Barkley was initially shocked by Evan Neal’s size during pre-draft visit, ‘glad’ he’s on Giants

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Saquon Barkley has given his stamp of approval to the New York Giants haul at the 2022 NFL Draft, especially new offensive tackle Evan Neal. While Barkley himself has an impressive build with a pair of tree trunks for legs, the veteran running back admitted that he was stunned at the initial sight of Neal, which is understandable when you realize the Alabama product is heading to New York with a 6-foot-7, 337-pound frame. 

“Evan Neal, he’s a physical specimen,” Barkley said, via the New York Dailey News. “He came for the draft top 30 visit. All the draft people kinda were by my locker. He was there and I was like, oh my God, who is that? I saw him and was like I would not be mad if we would pick him up. I didn’t know he was gonna drop that far (to No. 7 overall), but great. I’m glad he’s on our team.”

During the pre-draft process, Neal was in the discussion to possibly come off the board with the No. 1 overall pick by the Jaguars but ultimately fell to the Giants at No. 7. That was a welcome sight for a New York club that desperately needed to come away with a top-tier tackle to pair with 2020 first-rounder Andrew Thomas.  

While they addressed the O-line with the second of their two first-rounders, it was Oregon pass rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux that was the Giants top pick. Both additions have caught Barkley’s attention. 

“They’re great talents,” he said. “I’m excited especially selfishly as a running back, when you get a 6-7, 350-pound lineman helping you out — but not just myself, the quarterback, too, and our offense in general.”

As Barkley noted, Neal’s addition along the offensive line should make life a bit easier for quarterback Daniel Jones. Throughout his 38 games played in the NFL during his three-year career, Jones has been sacked 105 times. He was also limited to just 11 games played in 2021 due to injury. Despite declining his fifth-year option before the draft, Giants brass has publicly stated that they are doing everything they can to ensure that Jones reaches his potential. This addition of Neal is certainly a step in the right direction. 

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