The New York Giants selected Oregon pass-rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux with the fifth pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. The Giants had a pressing need at offensive tackle before selecting Alabama’s Evan Neal at No. 7, but no tackles were selected before the Giants pick at No 5, which tmay have been why the Giants were comfortable selecting Thibodeaux.
Thibodeaux seemed like the consensus number one overall selection heading into the college football season. He tweaked his ankle in week one against Fresno State but still returned to help his team compete for a Pac-12 Championship.
Thibodeaux finished the 2021 season with 47 pressures and nine sacks, after having 34 pressures and three sacks in 2020 and 34 pressures and ten sacks in 2019. Thibodeaux is a versatile defensive pass-rusher with one of the quickest first steps in the draft. He sets a firm edge as a run defender, and he’s fluid enough to drop into coverage.
A pre-draft expectation of Thibodeaux falling out of the top 10 materialized after reports alluded to the 21-year-old pass rusher having strong passions off the field. Some stated that he took plays off - I never saw that on his film.
I believe the Giants found a scheme versatile pass-rusher who can thrive within Wink Martindale’s system. Thibodeaux’s flashed processing and development with his pass-rush plan in 2021, albeit he could still get to his second move quicker. He’s not the bendiest, but he can bend adequately; combine that with his disruptive, violent hands and explosiveness, and you have a player who can win one-on-one matchups.
The Giants had 34 sacks in 2021. With a new pressure-heavy scheme and the addition of Kayvon Thibodeaux, they plan to surpass that number.