NY Giants set to make risky OL move to try and benefit Evan Neal

The Giants are doing everything they can to develop the former first-round pick
Seattle Seahawks v New York Giants
Seattle Seahawks v New York Giants / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages

Of all the NY Giants high draft picks in recent years, Evan Neal might have had the worst start to his tenure in East Rutherford. From subpar play to openly criticizing Big Blue fans, the third-year offensive lineman has some work to do to fix his reputation. Many people believe the 2024 campaign will be a make-or-break year for the former Crimson Tide superstar.

General manager Joe Schoen and the front office made it a point to bolster the OL room during the offseason, signing guards Jon Runyan Jr. and Jermaine Eluemunor in free agency. But despite his struggles, ESPN insider Jordan Ranaan believes the Giants will roll out Neal next to Runyan on the right side. This could prove to be a terrific or terrible move.

Evan Neal has no more excuses for the NY Giants moving forward

There were rumors that Neal would receive reps at LG a few months ago and that NY reached out to his camp to ask if he would be comfortable moving positions. However, Schoen and Brian Daboll appear to have made up their minds. Neal is the projected starter at RT for the upcoming season, and Ranaan believes the plan is to move Runyan from his preferred position at LG to take the load off Neal.

On the surface, it seems like this move could pay off. Putting the team's top guard next to Neal will give him more protection and could help him feel more comfortable. Then again, G-Men supporters know he has struggled mightily in the past, and his leash will be as short as ever if he cannot figure it out in Year 3.

In college, Neal played on both sides in the trenches and alternated between tackle and guard. Unfortunately, the transition to the NFL has been far from seamless. His 39.8 Pro Football Focus grade in 2023 was one of the lowest on the team, and he has expressed his displeasure on several occasions.

The likelihood is that NY will begin the regular season with Neal starting at RT. He was the No. 7 overall pick in the draft, and the team invested too much in him to give up on him this early. However, if playing next to Runyan does not improve his fortunes, the experiment of Neal at tackle might be over.