Giants’ rising star pass-rusher named to ‘All-Breakout Team’ ahead of 2024 season

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New York Giants star outside linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux has endured a strong first two seasons in the NFL, and he is projected to continue trending upward for 2024. NFL Network’s Bucky Brooks constructed an All-Breakout Team for 2024, and he tabbed the third-year edge as a breakout candidate for this upcoming season.

“The 6-foot-5, 258-pounder thrives as a speed rusher off the edge — and now he’s in position to really  wreak havoc, lining up across the formation from two-time Pro Bowler Brian Burns. New York’s blockbuster trade acquisition will command most of the attention as the team’s most established edge rusher, leading to more one-on-one opportunities for Thibodeaux. With second-team All-Pro DT Dexter Lawrence also wrecking shop inside, Thibodeaux could post monster numbers in Year 3,” Brooks wrote.

Kayvon Thibodeaux took a huge leap in his second NFL season

Washington Commanders running back Brian Robinson Jr. (8) runs as New York Giants defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux (5) defends during the first half at MetLife Stadium

The 2022 fifth-overall draft selection showcased tremendous potential as an elite pass rusher last season, where he recorded 11.5 sacks, 50 combined tackles (12 for a loss), 16 quarterback hits, and three forced fumbles. The numbers in 2023 were a massive leap from his rookie season where he recorded just four sacks and six tackles for a loss. At only 23 years old, he is set to continue developing into one of the game’s best defensive players.

As Brooks noted, the addition of star linebacker Brian Burns is poised to make the Giants’ defensive group one of the most potent in the NFL. Giants’ outside linebackers coach Charlie Bullen highlighted the potential that Thibodeaux and Burns possess when sharing the football field.

“Anytime an offense can key into one player, that challenges that particular player but also the scheme. So now, having another proven rusher opposite Kayvon, someone has to get the attention. And Dex. There’s three bona fide, experienced guys up front, and the offense can only choose a certain amount,” Bullen said (h/t Giants Wire).

The addition of Brian Burns gives the Giants’ defense star power

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Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Burns, 26, has been one of the game’s best defensive players since coming into the NFL in 2019 with the Carolina Panthers. 2024 will be his first with the Giants, and they’re getting a guy who exhibits traits that Thibodeaux can pick up as he continues his development. Burns has recorded at least 8 sacks in each of the last four seasons, including a career-best 12.5 sacks in 2022.

In 2023, Burns had 16 tackles for a loss, the second-most in his career. He also had two pass deflections, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery, showcasing his quickness and good hands while being a menace in the pass rush.

With the star-studded defense that the Giants could have in 2024, new defensive coordinator Shane Bowen will have himself a strong and diverse group to put pressure on opposing offenses in many different areas. The team is still looking for ways to improve the deep secondary as well as their offense, so their expectations are still very low for this upcoming season.

However, despite those low expectations, this season can be used for Burns and Thibodeaux to learn how they can co-exist, which will be critical as the team improves the rest of the areas of need on the roster in the years ahead.

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