5 significant questions for the NY Giants at linebacker

Chicago Bears v New York Giants
Chicago Bears v New York Giants / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages
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1. Can Kayvon Thibodeaux be "him" in 2023?

When the Giants selected Thibodeaux with the No. 5 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, he was brought in to change the entire defense and help give it a complete facelift after years of struggling, especially in the pass-rush department.

While most might not look at Thibodeaux's rookie season as anything special, most know the impact he brought in 2022. If anything, Thibodeaux spent most of his rookie season getting a lot of non-calls because he got blatantly held on a consistent basis:

Then in Week 15 against the Washington Commanders in a nationally-televised game on Sunday Night Football, Thibodeaux had his coming out party. The "I'm him" game.

In that NY win, Thibodeaux posted 12 total tackles, one strip sack, one fumble forced, one fumble recovery and one touchdown in a game the Giants desperately needed to come out on top of to enhance their playoff hopes. The Giants ended up winning 20-12 and it all but helped lock their status as the NFC's No. 6 seed.

Thibodeaux finished the season with 49 total tackles, four sacks, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and one touchdown. Thibodeaux also finished fourth in the 2022 NFL Rookie Defensive Player of the Year voting. While that might not seem like an amazing rookie season, those numbers don't tell the entire story.

Thibodeaux was always bringing the pressure in 2022, as he had 40 total pressures, 25 hurries and 11 hits to go with the four sacks. Thibodeaux should only get better and continue to improve as a pass-rusher with experience. Now that he is no longer an NFL rookie, maybe he will get the veteran treatment and get some more holding calls, which will force offensive linemen to stop holding him and allow Thibodeaux to pick up even more sacks.

The Giants traded down in the 2021 NFL Draft and out of a chance to land Micah Parsons, who not only has become one of the best pass-rushers in the game, but one the Giants see twice a year now. Some Giants fans are still outraged over that the Giants did so, but when they did, they got the extra draft pick the following season and it allowed them to take Thibodeaux as high as they did.

The hope is that Thibodeaux will be for the Giants as Parsons is to the Cowboys and in the NFL. If the Giants can get Thibodeaux to be that level of player on defense and as a pass-rusher, then the Giants defense will be in good shape moving forward.

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