Most NFL Draft experts would tell you that the Giants nailed their two First Round selections in defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux and offensive tackle Evan Neal.
Giants running back Saquon Barkley would agree with that assessment, especially with the selection of Neal at No. 7. Barkley got his first look at Neal during the pre-draft process and said he was instantly blown away.
“Evan Neal, he’s a physical specimen,” Barkley said Tuesday, via the New York Daily 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, but great. I’m glad he’s on our team.”
You could say that Barkley is looking forward to running behind a line anchored by Neal, whose power at the point of attack projects him to become a dominant force as a run blocker in the NFL. The 6-foot-7, 337-pound Neal has experience blocking for top flight running backs, having led the way for now Steelers running back Najee Harris and Commanders running back Brian Robinson Jr. while at Alabama.
“They’re great talents,” Barkley 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.”
New York undoubtedly could use Neal’s help, as the team struggled to run the ball in 2021. The Giants finished in the bottom-half of the league in total rushing yards (1,688), YPC (4.0) and tied for last in rushing touchdowns (8).
Barkley himself is looking for a bounce back year, after a subpar season. In 13 games, Barkley rushed for 593 yards on 3.7 YPC and two scores.
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