Last year, the Giants passed linebacker Micah Parsons in the first round of the NFL Draft. Privately, they expressed concern about his personality and later admitted they did not expect him to become the pass-rush fiend he proved to be for the Cowboys. .
Even when Parsons was edging his way to the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award, there were Giants coaches and executives warning not to mark Parsons as a buildable player until he made his mark. evidence – on and off the field – for more than one season.
Kayvon Thibodeaux and Parsons aren’t the same player, but there are similarities for the Giants as they consider their options with overall picks 5 and 7 in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Parsons was there for the taking last year when the Giants were on the clock at No. 11. Instead, the Giants moved up to No. 20 and that pleased the Cowboys, who took Parsons at No. 12 .
Around this time a year ago, Thibodeaux was installed as the No. 1 draft prospect for 2022. He is not expected to live up to that lofty projection. If he’s available in the first round this year for the Giants, passing him carries the risk of looking silly if Thibodeaux exploits his potential and turns into a disruptive force on the field.
The Oregon point carrier will meet the Giants on Thursday at the team facility. This visit to the top 30 gives crucial information that the Giants will use to make a final assessment on a player who could make the difference in defense and the next piston in an engine that has since stalled, successively, Michael Strahan, Osi Umenyiora, Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul fueled the Giants machinery.
The Giants need to be completely comfortable with Thibodeaux and may need to be convinced he’s a good fit for the program they want to build under new head coach Brian Daboll. A source with knowledge of the Giants’ thinking last month at the owners’ meeting in Palm Beach, Fla., said the team had concerns. Thibodeaux was more interested in creating his own brand than becoming a big player. That Thibodeaux initially chose Wasserman Media Group as his representation and then moved on to Klutch Sports Group, a sports agency founded by LeBron James, did not go unnoticed.
There were whispers at the scouting combine in Indianapolis that some scouts questioned Thibodeaux’s desire and that there were those in the Oregon program who thought he didn’t always play as hard as he did. he had to. Thibodeaux injured his ankle in the opener of last season and the injury persisted throughout the season.
Giants first-year general manager Joe Schoen attended Oregon’s Pro Day on April 1. Thibodeaux participated in exercises and, having heard of the accusation that his engine does not always heat up, was ready to respond.
“It’s easy to see a clip of something because that’s what the media does,” Thibodeaux said. “They cut stuff out and frame it however they want. Just watch the whole tape, you can see.
That wasn’t all Thibodeaux, talkative-when-the-mood-suited-him-had to say.
“The most ridiculous thing I’ve heard is that I’m not the best player in this draft,” he said.
There will be plenty to talk about for the Giants when they visit with Thibodeaux, who will stay in New Jersey to meet the Jets on Friday, a No. 4 team that could certainly be of interest. Thibodeaux had 126 tackles, 35.5 tackles for loss and 19 sacks in his three seasons at Oregon, a good but uninspiring output that only hints at what he can be at the next level. He can be seen as engaging, arrogant, aloof, or a mature, self-aware product of South Central Los Angeles. The Giants should have a better idea of him after their time together.
The Giants may never shoot Thibodeaux. Maybe the Lions will take him at No. 2.
“Hey listen, he’s an explosive athlete,” Lions head coach Dan Campbell told Detroit media. “He’s a playmaker. He’s got a good, quick first step. I mean, he’s something else. He’s pretty special on tape.”
Thibodeaux said the Giants “were a little tough on me” when they met him at the combine, asking what he would do if he got off to a bad start as a rookie and the media New York/New Jersey were going after him. . Thibodeaux said he thought that meant the Giants had a genuine interest in him.
They should. It could change the face of their defense. If it suits them.