NFL Draft 2022: Small Town Evan Neal is confident he will ‘fit in’ well with the Giants

No doubt Evan Neal would have fulfilled the role of “The Town Mouse” if the Giants had recreated the legend of Aesop No. 352 – although the idea of ​​a giant blue and any kind of mouse took any shape, form or form. Some creative casting.

Neil, Okeechobee, Fla. From, coming to the big city when the Giants picked him No. 7-overall in the 2022 NFL Draft on Thursday night.

“A little culture shock, man, but I’m excited,” Neil said. “I’m a country boy, but at the end of the day, I know how to get along well with the city, so I’m very excited.”

This is not the first time Neil, 21, has gone somewhere small to find fame and fortune somewhere big. As a teenager, he left his hometown and high school to relocate to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. Described as destination.

Evan Neil reacted after the Giants drafted him with the No. 7 pick.

The trip was 115 miles west, and it could be described as a journey for a 6-foot-7, 360-pound, 14-year-old sophomore human-child, who at the time called it “a difficult decision.” I have to leave home and live on my own. ”

The teenager added: “The decisive factor is that this is an opportunity I cannot ignore. They have placed countless boys in the top Division I colleges. They hold the highest standards for their children. ”

That was Neil’s plan. In ninth grade, he wrote a letter to the class outlining his goals: tackle the country’s top offensive line as a high school player, go to a Division I program and play in the NFL.

It all worked out for Neil, who got what he needed from IMG, won a scholarship to Alabama, spent three years managing the offensive line for the Crimson Tide, and was the No. 7 pick on Thursday night, perhaps the final part of an annual major in the big leagues. The Giants puzzle to lift the offensive line.

“When you’re a 14-year-old kid and you’re a big offensive lineman at your school, you don’t really understand what an NFL body looks like, with fat mass and body distribution,” said Billy Miller, Neil’s football coach at IMG. . “His body transformation, I give credit to his mentality and his shopping. He was always the first person in the weight room, the last person to leave at a young age.

“He understands what is at stake. He always had the mentality that it was a business decision for him. ”

Get the latest updates of each New York Giants pick in the 2022 NFL Draft and Hometown analysis from the New York Post.

Business is booming for Neal, who will receive a four-year rookie contract worth $ 24.6 million. If the Giants had taken him to No. 5 instead of picking Kyivan Thebodox from Edge Rasha, Neil would have received a four-year deal worth $ 31.3 million, which Thebodox would eventually sign.

Neil must have sounded all-business on draft night, taking his impending step in the New York-New Jersey area.

“Quite a quiet-back guy,” he said. “I’m more introverted by nature, more reserved, calmer, but just talk to me. I am a human being. I must be a calm person. ”

While in Alabama, Evan took.
While in Alabama, Evan took.
Tom Sutter / Cal Sport Media / Sipa

Calm, introverted but able to loose. Miller asked Neil to send a short hype video that he could share with players before the IMG’s first football game this past season.

“Let me tell you, it was epic,” Miller said. “It was about 30 seconds, it started to get really cool and then all of a sudden in 15 seconds, boom, he turned it on, the boys went crazy. He’s really, really good. ”

The Giants don’t need any hype video from Neil. They will serve him as a starting right tackle and hopefully the upward progress he has made will continue at the highest level.

“He survives and breathes in football,” Miller said. “He is from the country, he has a small circle, he is a man who understands what is at stake. He’s going to limit confusion, he’s going to focus on what he needs to focus on, he’s going to be a professional, he’s going to be a force man. That’s exactly what they want out there. “

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