The Giants advanced to linebacker Micah Parsons last year in the first round of the NFL Draft. Privately, they expressed concern about his personality and later admitted that they did not expect him to show up as the demon he turned out to be for the Cowboys.
Even as Parsons was on his way to the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award, there were Giants coaches and executives who warned against stamping Parsons as a player to build on before proving himself – on and off the field – for more than one season.
Kayvon Thibodeaux and Parsons are not 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.
The Parsons were there to take on last year when the Giants were on the clock at No. 11. Instead, the Giants traded down to the No. 20, and that pleased the Cowboys very much, which took the Parsons to the No. 12.
At this point a year ago, Thibodeaux was installed as the No. 1 draft prospectus for 2022. He is not expected to live up to the high projection. If he is available in the first round of this year for the Giants, there is a risk of passing him on a risk of looking stupid if Thibodeaux exploits his potential and becomes a disruptive force on the pitch.
The edge-rusher from Oregon meets with the Giants on Thursday at the team facility. These top-30 visitor numbers to provide crucial information that the Giants will use to make a final evaluation of a player who could be a difference in defense and the next stamp in an engine that has stalled since, in order, Michael Strahan, Osi Umenyiora, Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul nurtured the giants’ machinery.
The Giants must be completely familiar with Thibodeaux and may need to be convinced that he is right for the program they want to build with the new head coach Brian Daboll. A source with knowledge of the giants ‘mindset last month at the owners’ meeting in Palm Beach, Florida said the team had concerns that Thibodeaux was more interested in creating its own brand than becoming a major player. That Thibodeaux initially chose Wasserman Media Group as its representation and then switched to Klutch Sports Group, a sports agency founded by LeBron James, did not go unnoticed.
There was the mumble at the scouting combination in Indianapolis that some scouts questioned Thibodeaux’s desire and that there were those in the Oregon program who thought he was not always playing as hard as he needed to play. Thibodeaux hurt his ankle in the first game of last season and the injury lasted all season.
Joe Schoen, the Giants’ first-year general manager, attended Oregon’s Pro Day on April 1. Thibodeaux took part in exercises, and after hearing about the accusation that his engine does not always run hot, he was ready with an answer.
“It’s easy to see a slice of something because that’s what the media does,” Thibodeaux said. “They cut things up and frame it the way they want. Just look at the whole tape you want to be able to see.”
That was not all the talkative-when-the-mood-fits-him Thibodeaux 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 a lot for the Giants to discuss during their visit with Thibodeaux, who will be 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 losses and 19 sacks in his three seasons in Oregon, good but not inspiring production that only hints at what he can be on the next level. He can be seen as engaging, cocky, secluded or a mature and self-confident product from South Central Los Angeles. The giants should have a better feeling for him after their time together.
The Giants may never get a shot at Thibodeaux. Maybe the Lions take him No. 2.
“Hey, listen, he’s an explosive athlete,” Lions head coach Dan Campbell told members of the Detroit media. “He’s a playmaker. He has a good, fast first step. I mean he’s something else. He’s pretty special on tape.”
Thibodeaux said the giants “were a little harsh on me” when they met with him at the combine and asked him what he would do if he got off to a tough start as a rookie and the media in New York / New Jersey was on its way against him. . Thibodeaux said he perceived it as meaning that the giants had a genuine interest in him.
They should. He could change their defense. If he is right for them.