Giants: Why Kayvon Thibodeaux should make the Pro Bowl

New York Giants linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux (5) warms up before the game against the Carolina Panthers at MetLife Stadium
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

In his second year for the New York Giants, OLB Kayvon Thibodeaux has overcome early struggles and silenced critics with a breakout sophomore season. Despite facing initial criticism from the media for his slow start, Thibodeaux has emerged as a force to be reckoned with. His impressive statistics and impact on the field make a strong case for why he should be considered as a selection for the 2024 Pro Bowl Games.

Kayvon Thibodeaux is having a breakout second season

Thibodeaux’s transformation from his rookie season to the 2023 campaign is nothing short of remarkable. During his debut season, he registered just four sacks through 14 games. However, in his second year, the former fifth-overall pick has already accumulated 11 sacks in just 12 games.

This outstanding performance has made him the first defensive player in DC Wink Martindale’s system to record double-digit sacks. This accomplishment is noteworthy, considering that throughout Martindale’s tenure as a defensive coordinator, his sack leaders have averaged 7.33 sacks per year. Thibodeaux is on pace to nearly double that figure.

Thibodeaux is on a historic pace to place amongst Giants greats

At his current pace, Thibodeaux is projected to finish the 2023 season with an impressive 16 sacks. Such an achievement would make him the Giants’ most prolific pass rusher since Jason Pierre-Paul’s 16.5 sacks in 2011.

Should Thibodeaux reach the 15-sack milestone, the Oregon product will become the eighth player in Giants franchise history to achieve such a feat. This prestigious list includes legendary names like Lawrence Taylor, Michael Strahan, and Jason Pierre-Paul.

Apart from his sack statistics, Thibodeaux’s ability to pressure opposing quarterbacks quickly sets him apart from his peers. According to FTN Data, Thibodeaux has a time to pressure of 2.49 seconds, ranking him the fifth-fastest among players with at least 30 pressures this season. This places him in esteemed company, proving that he possesses the tools necessary to be a dominant force in the NFL.

Thibodeaux expresses that he wants to make the Pro Bowl

Having achieved 11 sacks, Thibodeaux is in a position to be a legitimate contender for the league’s sack leader total. At the moment, TJ Watt holds that title with 13.5 sacks.

If he were to secure two more sacks, he would be on par with Myles Garrett’s current sack record (13). When asked if he thinks he has the chance to surpass Garrett, Thibodeaux expressed his hopefulness, as it would signify the hard work he has put in and help him reach the Pro Bowl.

“I hope so. That would mean that I’ve been working. I’m trying to make the Pro Bowl, trying to make All-Pro. I’m trying to do as much as I can to help my team win.”

Kayvon Thibodeaux per Ryan Dunleavy of The New York Post

It is important to note that in the past six seasons, only three rookies or second-year players have achieved double-digit sacks within their first 11 games. This exclusive group includes standout performers such as TJ Watt and Micah Parsons. Thibodeaux’s inclusion in this elite circle underscores his unique talent and potential for continued success, making him a Pro Bowl-worthy candidate.