NBC Sports’ Peter King sees big things for Evan Neal this year
NBC Sports’ Peter King made his predictions for this year’s postseason awards in his weekly “Football Morning in America” column. When it came to the Offensive Rookie of the Year Award, King had an interesting name listed among his three candidates – Giants right tackle Evan Neal.
Neal has only been in the NFL for a little over four months now, but the right tackle already feels like he has picked up on a few things to help improve his game leading up to the start of the regular season.
“The NFL is definitely a more technical,” Neal said Monday on what he’s learned about the NFL since being drafted. “I had to become more of a technician. I couldn’t just rely so much on just my raw athleticism or talent. I had to become more of a technician as well, working on my pass sets, my set angles. I feel like I’m more comfortable in my sets. I’m using my hands more, and I feel like I’m more balanced as well, but obviously I have a lot of work that still needs to be done. I feel like my game is trending in the right direction.”
King ended up picking New Orleans Saints WR Chris Olave as his OROY winner, with Houston Texans RB Dameon Pierce coming in second.
With the season set to kick off against the Titans this Sunday in Nashville, Neal has already made a great impression on his coaches and teammates, including his fellow starting offensive tackle.
“Evan is very mature for being a rookie the way he approaches every day – he’s trying to get better,” Andrew Thomas said last week. “He’s taking care of his body, doing extra cardio or whatever he can to get better. I think he’s doing a great job adjusting to that. Obviously, there’s struggles when you first come into this league playing the tackle position, it’s not easy, but he’s doing a great job, and I think he has all the tools to be really good.”
Since the award was created, no offensive lineman has ever been named Offensive Rookie of the Year. However, Kansas City Chiefs center Creed Humphrey and Los Angeles Chargers tackle Rashawn Slater both received votes for the award last year. Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase ended up winning the award.
Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (2014) and running back Saquon Barkley (2018) are the only Giants to receive the award in franchise history.