Giants are looking ahead to ‘deep’ 2022 NFL Draft class, but one name stands above the rest

kayvon thibodeaux, new york giants

New York Giants management was given the green light this off-season to spend an exorbitant amount of money in free agency and execute an aggressive strategy during the draft. Acquiring Kenny Golladay, retaining Leonard Williams, and signing a bevy of complementary pieces cost the Giants upwards of $150 million over the next few seasons, and while most teams were being conservative, Big Blur took a win-now approach.

For the first time in general manager Dave Gettleman’s career, he traded back in the NFL draft, adding more capital for the 2022 draft. This opens the door entirely for a backup plan if Daniel Jones doesn’t pan out and enough assets to trade up for a player like Oregon pass rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux.

“To be honest with you, it makes it fun knowing that we have all these opportunities to take players next year,” director of college scouting Chris Pettit said via Giants.com. “So I’m looking forward to it. With a big class, it’s going to be a lot of work for us. Our scouts are going to have to be as thorough as ever and start work earlier with such a big class and guys moving all around. We know that, and we are ready to take on the challenge. But now at least we have the picks to hit it out of the park next year again hopefully.”

On paper, the Giants hit a home run in his past draft class, landing Kadarius Toney with the 20th overall pick and Azeez Ojulari out of Georgia at 50. Ojulari and Big Blue were connected as potential first-round partners, and landing him in the second round proved to be a pleasant surprise.

While the Giants felt bolstering the pass rush was a priority this off-season, they should be keeping a close eye on Thibodeaux in next year’s draft.
Thibodeaux is a traditional outside linebacker who continues to impress with his strength and athleticism. This past season, he only tallied 3.0 sacks over seven games but was a force in the trenches and commanded significant attention from opposing offensive lines. His 9.5 tackles for a loss lead the team, and opposing coordinators tried their best to avoid his side of the field at all costs. At 6’5” and 250 pounds, Kayvon is already a specimen of superior athleticism, and his head coach attests to that narrative.

“The best part about him, and everyone raves about his physicals – as they should, he’s explosive, he’s got an unbelievable get-off, he’s a very heavy-handed guy,” explained Ducks head coach Mario Cristobal. “I don’t think he gets enough credit for the way he strikes blockers and sheds blockers.”

If the Giants were to land Kayvon alongside Ojulari, they might have one of the best defensive fronts in football, consisting of Leonard Williams and Dexter Lawrence. While the 2022 NFL draft is quite some time away, looking at a potential strategic plan for the future is what will hopefully lead the Giants to their first Super Bowl in over a decade.