HomeTrade RumorsEvan Neal, Giants' RT, to Have Surgery for Fractured Ankle

Evan Neal, Giants’ RT, to Have Surgery for Fractured Ankle

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Believed to be dealing with a sprained left ankle, Evan Neal continued to see his potential return pushed back. The Giants have since ended the second-year tackle’s season, placing him on IR over the weekend. This amounted to a lost year for the top-10 pick.

More has come to light on why Neal missed the second half of the season. The Giants’ starting right tackle suffered a fractured ankle, Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News reports. Brian Daboll alluded to a procedure likely being necessary, and Leonard confirms surgery is on tap.

Neal has struggled to justify the Giants’ No. 7 overall investment, and he missed time before this ankle malady shut him down in early November. The Giants are not expected to consider sliding Neal inside to guard, despite the Alabama alum having played there at points in college. But the team has seen its Andrew Thomas bookend partner have a tough go as an NFL RT.

It is unclear when Neal’s diagnosis changed from a sprain to a fracture, Leonard adds, but the updated injury explains why Neal — who had resumed practicing on a side field following the Nov. 5 injury — was never able to return to action. He ends his second season having played in just seven games.

The Giants have encountered a few misses at right tackle since Super Bowl-era bastion Kareem McKenzie‘s 2012 exit. First-rounder Justin Pugh could not stick at the position, being moved to guard during his first New York stint, and free agent Geoff Schwartz battled injuries during his Big Apple stay. Seventh-rounder-turned-starter Bobby Hart ultimately proved overmatched, and Dave Gettleman cut him on his first day as GM. Gettleman hit big on Thomas but was not able to find a right-edge blocker. After switching Nate Solder to RT in 2021, the Giants used the second of their two 2022 first-rounders on Neal. But he has disappointed thus far.

Pro Football Focus rated Neal as this season’s second-worst tackle. That came after the advanced metrics website placed in in the same spot (80th out of 81 qualified tackles) last year. It will be interesting to see if the Giants attempt to add a veteran to compete with Neal, but offensive line coach Bobby Johnson said (via The Athletic’s Dan Duggan) it remains too soon to fully evaluate the young blocker. That point is fast approaching, however, as the Giants will need to see significant improvement from Neal to avoid right tackle being a top priority come 2025.

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