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The giants’ big questions for Kayvon Thibodeaux’s visit

The Giants passed linebacker Micah Parsons in the first round of the NFL draft last year. They secretly expressed concern about his personality and later admitted they didn’t expect him to emerge as the pass-rush demon he turned out to be for the Cowboys.

Even as Parsons was fighting his way to NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, there were Giants coaches and executives who warned against labeling Parsons as a player to build on until he proves himself — on and off the field — for has proved more than one season.

Kayvon Thibodeaux and Parsons aren’t the same player, but there are similarities for the Giants when considering their options with picks 5 and 7 overall in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Parsons was there last year when the Giants were 11th on the clock. Instead, the Giants were traded down to 20th, and that pleased the Cowboys, who took Parsons to 12th.

Kayvon Thibodeaux fires Fresno State quarterback Jake Haener
Kayvon Thibodeaux fires Fresno State quarterback Jake Haener
Getty Images

At this point a year ago, Thibodeaux was installed as the #1 draft candidate for 2022. He is not expected to live up to this lofty prognosis. If he’s available for the Giants in the first round this year, the passing risks him looking stupid as Thibodeaux realizes his potential and becomes a disruptive force on the field.

The Oregon edge rusher meets the Giants at team facility Thursday. Those top 30 attendance numbers provide crucial information the Giants will use to make a definitive assessment of a player who could make a difference on defense and the next piston in an engine to falter since Michael Strahan, Osi guessed Umenyiora, Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul drove the machinery of the Giants.

The Giants need to feel completely comfortable with Thibodeaux and possibly believe he’s the right person for the program they plan to build with new head coach Brian Daboll. A source with knowledge of the Giants’ mindset at last month’s owners’ meeting in Palm Beach, Fla., said the team had concerns that Thibodeaux was more interested in creating his own brand than becoming a great player. The fact that Thibodeaux initially chose Wasserman Media Group as his representative office and then switched to Klutch Sports Group, a sports agency founded by LeBron James, did not go unnoticed.

Kayvon Thibodeaux attending his 21st birthday celebration at The Hideaway on December 15, 2021
Kayvon Thibodeaux attending his 21st birthday celebration at The Hideaway on December 15, 2021
Getty Images

At the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, it was rumored that some scouts questioned Thibodeaux’s desire and that there were people in the Oregon program who believed he wasn’t always playing as hard as he needed to play. Thibodeaux injured his ankle in the first game of last season and the injury continued throughout the season.

Joe Schoen, the Giants’ first-year general manager, attended Pro Day in Oregon on April 1. Thibodeaux attended drills and was ready with an answer after hearing allegations that his engine didn’t always run hot.

“It’s easy to get a glimpse of something because that’s what the media does,” Thibodeaux said. “They cut things up and frame them however they want. Just watch the whole tape, you will be able to see.”

That wasn’t all Thibodeaux had to say when the mood suited him.

Kayvon Thibodeaux passes against UCLA
Kayvon Thibodeaux passes against UCLA
Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

“The most ridiculous thing I’ve heard is that I’m not the best player in this draft,” he said.

There will be much to talk about during their visit to Thibodeaux for the Giants, who will remain in New Jersey to meet with the Jets on Friday, a 4th-ranked team that could certainly be interested. Thibodeaux had 126 tackles, 35.5 tackles for loss and 19 sacks in his three seasons in Oregon, a good but uninspiring performance that only hints at what he can be at the next level. He can be seen as engaging, cocky, aloof, or a mature and confident product of South Central Los Angeles. The Giants should have a better feeling for him after their time together.

It could be that the Giants never shoot at Thibodeaux. Maybe the Lions will take him 2nd.

“Hey, listen, he’s an explosive athlete,” Lions head coach Dan Campbell told media representatives in Detroit. “He’s a playmaker. He has a good, quick first step. I mean he’s something else. He’s pretty special on the tape.”

Thibodeaux said the Giants were “kind of hard on me” when they caught up with him at the combine and asked him what he would do if he got off to a bad start as a rookie and the New York/New Jersey media turned on him . Thibodeaux said he understood that the Giants were genuinely interested in him.

They should. He could change the face of their defense. If he’s right for her.

https://nypost.com/2022/04/14/nfl-draft-2022-giants-big-questions-for-kayvon-thibodeaux-visit/ The giants’ big questions for Kayvon Thibodeaux’s visit

JOE HERNANDEZ

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