When the New York Giants drafted Kayvon Thibodeaux out of Oregon this past spring, they viewed him as an instant-impact player who could change the course of a game in the blink of an eye. Thibodeaux had a rather slow start to his professional career, making his first appearance in Week 3 and recording his first NFL sack in Week 6 against the Baltimore Ravens.
However, Thibodeaux is quickly improving and providing more efficiency with every passing game. Against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 12 on Thanksgiving, Thibodeaux finished with nine total pressures, including five quarterback hits and four hurries. He was arguably the best defense of player on both sides, despite the Giants failing to walk away with a victory. Nonetheless, he’s set the stage for what looks to be an incredible career littered with accomplishments and production.
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The New York Giants have a star in Kayvon Thibodeaux:
Over 250 pass rush snaps, Thibodeaux has accrued 28 total pressures, one sack, eight quarterback hits, and 19 hurries. He’s also contributed nine stops in the run game and 14 total tackles. His low sack numbers are difficult for Thibs to swallow, especially with a ton of uncalled holding penalties showing up all over the film.
“It definitely eats you alive when you miss those plays that they give to you,” Thibodeaux said. “You have to keep being a student of the game. I have to keep getting better so when those opportunities come, I make them.”
The Giants haven’t even been full force on the defensive line just yet, with Azeez Ojulari projected to finally recover from a calf injury he sustained early this season. With a full unit, consisting of Thibodeaux, Ojulari, Leonard Williams, and Dexter Lawrence, the Giants’ defense should take a big step forward, despite their demolished secondary.
The most impressive part about Thibodeaux’s rise hasn’t been his production, though, it has been his leadership qualities as a 21-year-old player. Pass rusher is one of the most expensive positions in football, so having a productive rookie with four years left of control is exactly what the Giants need so they can spend elsewhere. Knowing he has a great personality and electrifying character, the team will continue building around KT in the future.
“I’m a guy that not only gives off the presence of being older, but I’m a younger guy people look to for wisdom and for leadership,’’ Thibodeaux told The Post on Thursday. “I’m trying to step into that role and trying to step into it in a humble way knowing that I’ve still got a lot of learn and grow.”