Who is New York Giants’ Biggest X-factor in 2024 Season?

Who is New York Giants’ Biggest X-factor in 2024 Season?

This New York Giants third-year player’s success might very well be one of the biggest keys to the team’s success in 2024.

It probably comes as no surprise when we say that the New York Giants offense, which finished 29th overall last season (280 yards/game), needs to be head-and-shoulders better than it was during last year’s 6-11 campaign.


The Giants will be counting on several things to make the offense better, starting with a potential change at play caller, where head coach Brian Daboll appears to be likely to take over that role from offensive coordinator Mike Kafka.


Other changes include the upgrades made to Pro Football Focus’s 30th ranked offensive line last season, and, of course, the play of starting quarterback Daniel Jones, who in six games ranked 33rd (out of 41) quarterbacks who had a minimum of 190 drop backs.


But the biggest X-factor for the Giants will be the play of offensive tackle Evan Neal, who is entering his third season this year. Neal, the team’s projected starting right tackle, has not lived up to his billing of being a top-ten draft pick after being selected seventh overall in the 2022 draft.



In 20 games, Neal, per PFF, has allowed 81 quarterback pressures and 10 sacks, a rather disappointing showing for a player for whom so much was expected following a successful three-year career at Alabama.


To be fair, Neal has dealt with injuries in his first two NFL seasons. As a rookie, he had knee, arm, and ankle issues. Last season, a season-ending ankle issue required surgery, something that Neal is still recovering from this off-season.


But Neal, who played right tackle during his second season for the Crimson Tide (that in 2020) has yet to look comfortable playing on the right side, his stance being all over the place and with that, his consistency.


He’s also had some balance issues crop up in his game, further raising questions as to whether he’s a fit for right tackle or if he would be better off being moved inside to guard.


The Giants haven’t given up on Neal as their right tackle, that much has been confirmed by both general manager Joe Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll, though Daboll more recently left the door open when asked if there might be plans to move Neal around this summer by saying, “He’ll start at right tackle.”


But unlike in his first two seasons, when it was pretty much Neal or bust, the Giants have options this season, namely veteran Jermaine Eluemunor, who was signed as an unrestricted free agent earlier this year and who offers position flexibility at both guard and tackle.


Eluemunor is also a familiar face to new offensive line coach Carmen Bricillo, and while it’s expected that Neal will enter training camp as the incumbent, it will not come as a surprise if the Giants pull the plug on Neal early if he struggles again.


For Neal to hold off Eluemunor, he has to stay healthy first and foremost so he can get the necessary reps. Even more important is that Neal has to take to Bricillo’s coaching and find that level of consistency in his game that has thus far eluded him.


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