Analyzing what the NY Giants are getting in Kayvon Thibodeaux

NY Giants, Kayvon Thibodeaux (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)
NY Giants, Kayvon Thibodeaux (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images) /

With the 5th pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, the NY Giants selected Oregon defensive end, Kayvon Thibodeaux. The excitement displayed by Giants super-fan Sam Prince who announced the pick was one that was no doubt shared by most of the fanbase as he read out the first pick of the Joe Schoen era in New York.

When this draft process started almost four months ago, Thibodeaux was in the conversation with Aidan Hutchinson as the number one overall pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars. If you told Giants fans back then that they would eventually draft him with the fifth overall pick, you would be hard-pressed to find someone who wouldn’t say yes. Now that he is officially a Giant, let’s take a look at the player, and how it impacts this New York Giants team.

What are the NY Giants getting in Kayvon Thibodeaux?

Both the player and the personality seemed destined to end up in the big apple. Out of all the pass rushers in this draft class, Thibodeaux has one of the most impressive college resumes. The 2019 PAC-12 Defensive Freshman of the year, two-time first-team all PAC-12, 2021 unanimous all American – you name it, Thibodeaux achieved it at Oregon.

This past season Thibodeaux had 27 hurries, 11 hits, and 9 sacks at Oregon. One look at the man and it’s easy to see why he was so successful. He has the ideal frame to be an elite presence at the professional level and the traits which should transfer nicely to the NFL.

A great summary of Thibodeaux’s positive traits was provided by NFL analyst Daniel Jeremiah in his Top 150 prospect article:

"Thibodeaux offers great size, length and explosiveness. He moved up and down the line of scrimmage in the Ducks’ scheme, but primarily stood up on the edge. He shows a tremendous burst off the snap and excels using his inside arm to stab, create space, close and finish. He also has an effective shake/bull move to rock and displace offensive tackles."

The Giants are getting a prospect who has been at the top of his class at every level of football he has played. Coming out of high school Thibodeaux was the top-ranked prospect in the nation according to ESPN.

He then went on to be one of the most dominant college players in recent memory, as suggested by the accolades on his resume I listed earlier. He has all the tools to be a dominant presence at the next level, and if his career so far is anything to go by, there should be no doubt he can make the jump.

There were rumors of some character issues present in media circles over the past few months, with the idea that Thibodeaux had concerned some teams with his intentions to “build his brand”. With the rise in social media, NIL deals, and professional sponsorships, it seems like quite a ridiculous red flag for teams, with almost every NFL prospect looking to benefit from the brand they have built.

Evidently, it was not an issue for Joe Schoen and the Giants, and if his post-selection interview with Michelle Margaux is anything to go by, his mindset is exactly what this Giants team needs.

What does it mean for the NY Giants?

First of all, it means the rest of the NFC East should be very nervous. The young pairing of Azeez Ojulari and now Thibodeaux has the potential to be one of the most dominant pass rush pairings in the NFL for a long time to come.

In 2021 Ojulari set the franchise rookie sack record for the Giants at 8. That may be a one-year record, with Thibodeaux having the speed and power to get to the quarterback on every play. The 8 sacks by Ojulari also represent the most sacks by any member of that Giants defense in 2021. While a positive statistic for the 2021 second-round pick, it shows the troubles the Giants have had getting to the quarterback with the players on this roster.

Thibodeaux has the kind of presence both on and off the field which can change the trajectory of a whole franchise. The Giants as an organization have been stale and unimposing for such a long time that it’s hard to imagine it would just change overnight. Thibodeaux might just be exactly what this franchise needs.

Bringing in a player and personality that will challenge the current roster, and hopefully inspire them to improve as a unit has the potential to be far more impactful than just his individual value to the team.

He will make an impact from week one of his rookie season and will be a player opposition offenses watch out for on every play. Wink Martindale will certainly be excited to get his hands on a prospect as talented as Thibodeaux is. In my opinion, however, his impact will be felt by the Giants even before he takes the field for week one.

A training camp that has Thibodeaux and Ojulari competing against Andrew Thomas and now Evan Neal is something Giants fans everywhere should be extremely excited about. All four have the potential to succeed in the NFL, and competing against each other every day in practice provides the best chance for them, and the Giants, to succeed in 2022 and beyond.

Kayvon Thibodeaux Conclusion

The selection of Kayvon Thibodeaux has the potential to change the trajectory of this franchise. The Giants are getting a proven winner, with a competitive edge that the organization as a whole has missed for some time.

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If Giants fans were wondering whether Joe Schoen would look to build a championship-caliber team in the same way previous successes have been seen in New York, they certainly have their answer now. It’s of course far too early to tell, but Thibodeaux could be the next in a long line of dominant Giant pass rushers.