After years of waiting and talking about Okeechobee native Evan Neal being drafted into the NFL, we finally got to realize the dream Thursday night when Neal got selected 7th overall by the New York Giants.
Hundreds of people packed into the Agri-Civic Center to watch the draft live on a big screen. It took almost exactly an hour into the draft for the local fans to explode in celebration when commissioner Roger Goodell announced Evan’s name to the Giants.
The Giants had to early first round picks. They took Oregon edge rusher Keyvon Thibodeaux with the 5th overall pick before selecting Neal 7th.
Fans at the Agri-Civic Center were ecstatic and cheered for minutes after the announcement was made.
Okeechobee Mayor Dowling Watford feels a night like this puts Okeechobee on the map.
OHS Jr Michael Burgarelli was the quarterback for the Brahmans this past season and was really excited to see someone from Okeechobee go that high in the draft.
Devin Louis was a running back for Okeechobee last season and was inspired to see someone from Okeechobee go to the NFL.
Brahman assistant coach Jeff Whitlock was on the staff in 2015 when Evan Neal played for Okeechobee. He says that was a special time for him and he is so happy for Evan and his family.
Justin Hazellief is with the Okeechobee County Fire Department and was working at the event. He says that Okeechobee should be proud of Evan and the support they showed.
There was food, drinks, music, games and more at the Draft Watch Party and all were free of charge.