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Giants running back Saquon Barkley gushes over rookie tackle Evan Neal 

Giants' Saquon Barkley spoke highly of his new teammate Evan Neal.
Giants’ Saquon Barkley participates in a practice at the NFL football team’s training facility.
AP Photo/Seth Wenig

Giants running back Saquon Barkley is looking forward to the coming season, when he’ll be playing behind rookie offensive tackle Evan Neal — who Big Blue selected 7th overall in the 2022 NFL Draft. 

“Any time as a running back you draft a guy like that, it’s going to put a smile on your face,” the 25-year-old rusher said.

Neal, a standout from the University of Alabama, comes to MetLife Stadium looking to improve the offensive line on the Giants, who gave up a combined 38 sacks during their lackluster 4–13 season last year. The team finished last in the NFC East, and missed the playoffs for the 5th-straight year. 

Barkley, meanwhile, who was the 2nd pick in the 2018 draft, heads into his 5th season amid rumors that the team could look to trade him as part of a cap space-saving effort. 

For more coverage of Evan Neal and the Giants, head to amNY.com.

But it appears that the fan-favorite rusher will remain in blue for the coming year, and the new addition to the team’s o-line will certainly be a boon for Barkley — who lauded the addition of Neal, who he met during the pre-draft process. 

“He was coming in for his visit or something like that,” Barkley said. “He was walking through and I was just like ‘golly, who is that? We need that guy on our team.’”

Barkley has dealt with significant injury problems throughout his young career, but rushed for 3.7 yards-per-attempt 

“Thankfully we were able to draft him, so I’m really excited for him to be on our team.”

The team picked Neal early in the 1st round with a pick they acquired from Chicago in a trade last season, making him the 2nd offensive player selected (behind Panthers’ tackle Ikem Ekwonu). 

At 6′ 7″ and 315 pounds, Neal figures to start at right tackle, along with his partner Andrew Thomas on the opposite side, as well as Shane Lemieux, Jon Feliciano and Mark Glowinski. 

“We are going to work him at right tackle, yes, knowing he has versatility to play left or play guard, which was attractive to us,” said rookie coach Brian Daboll. 

In addition to helping in the running game, Neal projects to be a solid option protecting Daniel Jones in his 4th NFL season, as the new regime in New York, led by Daboll and first-year general manager Joe Schoen (who both come from the Buffalo Bills), look to make a determination about the future of the quarterback position at MetLife. 

Jones, who played in 11 games last season, boasts a career 45–29 touchdown-to-interception ratio, and has found himself facing significant pressure from opposing defenses throughout his career — largely due to the mediocre play of the team’s offensive line. 

Evan has played multiple positions. He’s long — it takes a guy the long route to go to the quarterback. He’s got long arms. He’s a big, massive man, played multiple positions,” Daboll said. “We thought very highly of him [during the draft process].”

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