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Fact or Fiction: Neal in action; Williams' sack total


The crew is presented with four statements and must decide whether they are Fact or Fiction.

Rookie tackle Evan Neal is the player you're most excited to see with the pads on

Lance Medow: Fiction -  Neal is right up there, but let's go with the other first-round pick, Kayvon Thibodeaux. Although we've seen what he can do in college at Oregon, the NFL is a completely different story and observing how he fares against various offensive linemen and how he adapts to the physicality of the game in the trenches will be a telling exercise. The other reason to pick Thibodeaux is because the former is on an island when it comes to the battles up front whereas Neal will have the assistance of right guard Mark Glowinski on certain plays.

Dan Salomone: Fact – His size is one of the first things you noticed on the field this spring, but it was a tease as no contact is allowed at OTAs and minicamp - this changes at training camp. Let's see what the seventh overall pick can do in live action.

Matt Citak: Fact – If we're talking about any player on the roster, you'd probably go with Xavier McKinney, given the anticipation of what he can do in Wink Martindale's system this season. But limiting it to only new players on the roster, I have to go with Neal. Neal is a massive human being at 6-foot-7 and 351 pounds. As reserved as the rookie tackle has seemed since being drafted, he definitely has a mean streak to him when he throws on the pads and gets into the trenches. 

Aside from quarterback, offensive tackle is the toughest position to play as a rookie

Lance Medow: Fiction - Offensive tackle warrants consideration. but cornerback is right up there with quarterback. Regardless of what you're asked to do within the scheme, corners are responsible for either one player or an area of the field. It means you constantly have to read the situation, adjust to what can be a lot of traffic and keep pace with very skilled offensive play makers. Playing corner as a rookie can be a rude awakening as more often than not you're going to be put on an island with no help and have to make split-second decisions.

Dan Salomone: Fiction – You can help out a rookie tackle by placing a veteran next to him at guard, but cornerbacks are on an island – that's why it's a tougher transition than tackle.

Matt Citak: Fiction - Offensive tackle is certainly in the discussion for one of the tougher positions to succeed in as a rookie after transitioning from college to the pros. However, cornerback is right up there with quarterback as the two hardest positions to play as a rookie. Most of the time, cornerbacks are responsible for single-handedly locking down an opposing team's wide receiver without much help. Looking back at the NFL's recent draft history, corners and quarterbacks seem to be the two most unpredictable positions for forecasting success at the next level.

View the best photos from mandatory minicamp at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.

Leonard Williams will have double-digit sacks in 2022

Lance Medow: Fiction - Leonard Williams has only posted one double-digit sack season in his seven NFL seasons and that was 11.5 in 2020. His total dipped to 6.5 last season. In the four seasons in which Wink Martindale served as Ravens defensive coordinator, not one player reached 10 sacks in any year (Matt Judon maxed out at 9.5 in 2019). When you take those factors into consideration, you must lean more toward single digits and the sacks being spread across the board as opposed to one player in particular doing the heavy lifting.

Dan Salomone: Fact – With Azeez Ojulari on one side and Kayvon Thibodeaux on the other, things will soften up the middle for Leonard Williams. The veteran defensive tackle looks at peace on the field and in his role as a leader on the team. It could make for another big season, this time in Wink's defense.

Matt Citak: Fiction – Leonard Williams should have a strong season playing in Martindale's defense, but he has only one double-digit sack season in his seven-year career. Looking back at the Ravens over the last four years, their sack leader each season was one of their edge rushers - either Za'Darius Smith, Matt Judon (twice) and Tyus Bowser. Kayvon Thibodeaux and Azeez Ojulari likely have a better chance at reaching double-digit sacks than Williams, but it wouldn't be surprising to see the team's sacks spread out across everyone on the defense with no one reaching double-digits.

Daniel Jones will have more than 65 rushing attempts (his career-high set in 2020) in the first year of the new offense

Lance Medow: Fact - This is all dependent on how many games Daniel Jones plays. Those 65 rushing attempts came in 14 games. In 2021, he only appeared in 11 contests and finished with 62 rushes. Assuming he avoids the injury bug, you will see Jones set a new high even though he shouldn't run as much as Buffalo's Josh Allen because Jones has a completely different build and physique. If Jones averages about four runs a game and plays a full season, he'll get just above 65. It's absolutely within striking distance, yet far from a lock.

Dan Salomone: Fact – Here are Josh Allen's rushing attempt totals from his first four years in Buffalo: 89 (11 starts as a rookie), 109, 102, and 122. One of the Daniel Jones' biggest strengths is running, and Daboll will take advantage of it.

Matt Citak: Fact – Assuming Daniel Jones can remain healthy, this is an easy one. Let's look at two factors, the first being Jones' rushing history. His career-high 65 rush attempts in 2020 came in just 14 games. With the schedule expanded to 17 games, one would assume he should be able to top that number. The other thing to look at is Josh Allen's rushing history with the Bills under Brian Daboll. In his rookie season, Allen registered his lowest rushing total with 89 rush attempts in 12 games (11 starts). In the three seasons since, of which Allen has not missed a game, the talented QB has topped 100 carries every season. Jones' ability as a runner is a big part of his skillset, and Daboll is certainly going to take advantage of it.

View photos of the New York Giants' 2022 roster as it currently stands.


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